True love (and by this, I mean agape love) is unmerited. We do nothing to deserve it. It is beautifully bestowed upon us for no other reason than for the truth that we have been chosen. Agape love is a sacrificial love that demonstrates one's volition to pursue someone, accept someone, and serve someone even though there is nothing that is inherently worthy about the one who is being loved.
Though a beautiful and weighty truth, this is one of the hardest things for human beings to accept. How on earth is love freely given? We live so often by the concepts of earning, buying or having to work really hard for something before we can attain it. Simply put: This is yet another backdrop for the subversiveness of Jesus Christ: His love is just that--unconditional.
My flesh desires to strive, to earn and to make myself good enough to deserve something. The reality is that there is absolutely nothing I can do in the sight of Christ to make me more lovable, more acceptable, more whole, or more ready for His love. It is without condition. Truly, there are no strings attached. This is insanely counter to what we know as humans.
More often than not, our flesh experiences conditional love. We're loved until we do something wrong or don't meet expectations that others have put up for us. The idea that we can be loved less by someone because of our own fault is, in some ways, more believable and more of a reality than the fact that someone could love us despite everything we've done.
The image that paints the best picture for me is the that of adoption (as it is used in its original context). Adoption implies that the child is chosen--for good. Once that child is adopted, he or she cannot be returned (How harsh does that sound?), given over to someone else, or exchanged for someone who is better. He or she is chosen forever--no questions asked. In essence, the parent says, "I choose you--no if's and's or but's."
This choosing is done forever. The parent will always choose the child. It's not a one time thing. If that is true, then not only is it a continual process of being chosen, it's a continual process for the child to to receive that love and to claim his or her identify of being child.
This is what I continue to learn more deeply every day. I am in great need of His grace--the grace that enables me to receive His unmerited love and to claim my true identity in Him. I am a daughter of the King--fully loved, fully received, and given life to be experienced in the fullest.
May His grace abound in us, so that we can really live this out.