If

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

1 John 4:9-16

So often our default position when it comes to loving God is to love Him with an “if.” We may not say it out loud, but we say it in our hearts. It sounds like this, “God, I’ll worship you if….” “God, I’ll give you all the praise when…..” “Jesus, I’ll live my life for you if…” “Father, I’ll lay my life down for you if…” “I’ll share my faith with others if…” “I’ll step out boldly for You, God, if and when…”

If You protect me…if You provide for me…if You make this turn out alright…if I won’t lose friends…if I don’t have to be uncomfortable…if I won’t be embarrassed…if it’s not too hard…if I don’t experience pain and suffering…etc.

If.

But there have been moments in my life where I’ve left the land of “if” and entered into something better, something that feels totally free. There is a place with the Lord where there is no “if.” It’s a place where we realize that Jesus is the name above every name no matter what is happening in our lives or in the world. There is a place of worship where we love God just because He is God. There is a place of intimacy where we come to know, down to our bones, that He is worthy. Period. No if. He is worthy. He is good. He is loving. He is kind. He is patient. He is full of grace and humility.

I want to live in this land, not the land of “if.” I can feel myself being pulled away from this place and back into the conditional love of the world. And, yet, when I re-enter this place again, I once again experience the freedom of it. It is so incredibly freeing to simply love God because He is. Not to get something. Not in response to something I need Him to do or something He already did. There is freedom when we are in a place of exalting His Name simply because of who He is.

The freedom is that it doesn’t matter what happens to my life. I’ve already died with Christ. I’ve already been raised with Christ. I’m already seated with Christ in the heavenly realms. My life is not my own. I was bought at a price…a very high price. So regardless of what happens in my life, God is worthy of extreme worship and devotion. Jesus gets the glory regardless. Jesus is worthy of all honor and praise.

Have you been to this place before? Have you ever left the land of “if?” I invite you to spend time with the Lord and experience it for yourself. Once you get a taste of it, you’ll want more. You’ll want to not just visit but to live every day in that place…that place of total freedom.

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