Loved Unconditionally

I'm so grateful today that God loves us just the way we are. He doesn't wait until we're perfect to call us, until we get ourselves looking good enough, until we somehow measure up to what we think we should be in His sight. God calls each of us just the way we are right at this moment. He calls us from a divine place of unconditional love and commitment to us.

Can you imagine how freeing it would be to live your life if you knew that everyone loved you and you never had to be good enough for them or get their approval? It would be so freeing to let go of the pressure to perform and constantly measure up to others' expectations and demands. You would be free to live out of a place of abundance, a vast place of acceptance, and not out of judgment and condemnation.

That is the freedom you can live in when you know that God loves you unconditionally. You can get up in the morning and truly say, "God, I'm not going to condemn myself because I know that You're not condemning me. I believe that You love me with an everlasting love. I'm going to go out and be my very best today, honoring You, knowing that I'm not perfect, but You are. I believe that there's nothing You can't do through me." When we live our lives like that, we'll be steady, we'll be strong, we'll live an abundant, flourishing life.

Unfortunately, sometimes we fall into the thinking that God loves us according to our performance. We're prone to think, "God, when I do right, You love me. When I miss the mark, You get mad at me." But that is not true. Actually, that couldn't be further from the truth. The Scripture says God loves us unconditionally: "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" (1 John 3:1). If you're basing God's love on your actions, that's conditional. But God so loved the world that He gave His only Son for us…unconditionally. You can't work for God's love; you can only believe and receive it.

You have to build your life and live your life on this foundation of God's unconditional love, approval and forgiveness—all that God freely provided for you on the cross. He accepted you; He forgave you; He approved you. When you live under the umbrella of God's grace, guess what? You not only will improve your life, but you will have so much love in your life that you'll begin to give it away!


Kiss It Goodbye

In the Scripture, a lady named Naomi and her family had left Bethlehem because of a famine and moved to Moab. Life was good, but then her husband unexpectedly died. She never dreamed she would be a widow. Ten years later, both of her married sons died. She was so heartbroken that she decided to move back to Bethlehem. She told her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, to go back to their homes and start new lives. Ruth refused to leave Naomi, but Orpah took her advice and went home.

After all Naomi had been through, she could have thought, "Orpah, how can you leave me at my lowest moment? How am I going to make it at my age?" She could have felt betrayed and angry, but that would have kept her from the new things God had in store. Instead the Scripture says she "kissed Orpah goodbye" (Ruth 1:9). Orpah represented the hurts, the disappointments, the broken dreams, and the things Naomi didn't understand. She was saying by her actions, "Life hasn't been fair, but I know that what was meant for my harm, God can turn to my advantage," which is exactly what happened. She and Ruth moved back to Bethlehem where Ruth married a wealthy man named Boaz. They had a baby whom Naomi took care of as though it were her own son. After all the hurt and loss, Naomi said, "I never dreamed I would be this happy and fulfilled." Her latter days were better than her former days. This would have never happened if she had not kissed Orpah goodbye.

When life doesn't turn out the way you thought, remind yourself that God is still in control. If you're going to reach your destiny, you have to learn to kiss negative things goodbye. People may walk away. Life may not turn out the way you had planned. It's tempting to get bitter, hold a grudge, lose your passion. You have to kiss the bitterness goodbye, kiss the person that left you goodbye, kiss the dream that didn't work out goodbye.

Sometimes God closes the door. He'll move people out of your life. There are people and opportunities that were assigned to your past that are not assigned to your future. They were right for a season, but that season may come to an end. The key is how you handle the closed door, how you handle the disappointment, how you handle the person who did you wrong. You can't embrace the new things God has in store as long as you're holding on to the old. Accept it as God's plan, kiss it goodbye, and move on. God knows how to bring you out better than you were before.


Live in a State of Contentment

Have you ever felt restless? Maybe you feel anxious right now but can't put your finger on why. I think we've all experienced it, not realizing this feeling can come from the fact that we're not content with our life. We think we're missing something, so we begin to search for it. Maybe it's from a lack of fulfillment at work or happiness in a relationship or satisfaction at home. Unfortunately, a lot of times we look in all the wrong places for something to fill our empty spaces. Some people look to food while others look to alcohol or drugs. Some try to find meaning and purpose through other people's lives on social media.

The problem is that none of those things can fill our empty spaces because it's actually a longing to find contentment. We think, "When I get my promotion…a new house…more money…when I fall in love, I'll be happy. I'll be successful." But the line of happiness and success is always moving. If you're chasing success or happiness, you're never going to catch it because you can never have enough of it, and you'll exhaust yourself forever chasing it. The only source that can fill that space is Jesus living inside us. But we're so used to trying to find our own sources that we forget that He is the source of our strength, the source of our meaning and purpose. Don't run after something else to fill the empty spaces in your life that only Jesus can fill.

When you're feeling anxious, restless and discontent, I encourage you to meditate on these words from the apostle Paul: "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:12–13). He learned the profound secret that contentment in his relationship with Christ is a powerful state of mind. He learned that because Christ was living in him, he could do all things with Christ strengthening him. In Christ, even in the prison from where he was writing, Paul was content and full of joy.

Contentment is defined as a "state of peaceful happiness," an attitude that has nothing to do with where you are or what you have. Proverbs 15:15 says, "For the happy heart, life is a continual feast." Can I encourage you to feast on the fact that God is for you, not against you. Because you're full of Christ Jesus, He's helping you through whatever you're going through. It's the "I can through Him" that's going to give you the strength to do it!