The Condition of Unconditional Love

Posted on September 15, 2012

The opposite of Grace isn’t law. The opposite of Grace is self-sufficiency.

Our minds often wrestle with this idea, because we are so wired to counter our awareness of need (knowledge of evil) with our ability to cover it (knowledge of good).  Even when we approach God for help, we may not recognize in our souls this thing called self-sufficiency. Sometimes self-sufficiency disguises itself as expectations. Specifically when we try to tell God how we need help, or what kind of help we need, we are still operating in self-sufficiency.

“I have had this struggle all my life,” he said. “I am going to fast and pray for three days and if God doesn’t show up and heal me I am going to give myself over to it and live the lifestyle that my sin dictates.” In this situation, this young man was in desperate need of help. He had need, but failed to receive the help he needed for several reasons. Primarily he remained stuck because in the face of his real need, he still did not need God to show him what he really needed.

As odd as it may seem unconditional love does have a pre-requisite condition. From our perspective, this may look like a condition. But in the same way that someone may direct you to a particular restaurant giving away free food, or the location of a beautiful view, you must follow the directions to get to where the free benefit is located.

The unconditional love of God has such a condition. God’s love is located in the dead center of our need. If you do not need it, you will not get it. Conversely, the more of it you need, the more of it you will get. (Romans 5:20 “Where sin abounded grace abounded all the more”)

The beauty of God’s Grace is that He meets us in our darkest places and our places of deepest need. The frustrating thing about God’s Grace is that if we think we can handle our circumstances on our own soul, He will continue to allow us to try.

He sure does love us.


  • Shel9871

    So true…

  • Maashaus

    This resonates with/in me. I am learning to surrender my will…and listen to God’s voice, feel Him leading, calling. I intend to keep on. 

  • Lauren E Aycock

    Oh my goodness, Bob. So good. So very good. Thank you.

  • BabsCoppedge

    mmm. mmm. mmm. *shaking my head* … not in disagreement, but in acknowledgement that my God surely nows how to “direct” my eyes to the exact words He needs my heart and soul to absorb on this very day. 

    “Even when we approach God for help, we may not recognize in our souls this thing called self-sufficiency. … Specifically when we try to tell God how we need help, or what kind of help we need, we are still operating in self-sufficiency.”

    goodness, i resemble this remark, but I know there is unconditional love and grace to cover it and move me forward from it. in this current storm of learning total dependence on God’s provision, i find myself (sometimes) focusing on too much of the now need because it’s what’s in front of me. but now, after reading this, i want my heart eyes to be refocused from the kind of help i think we need in our “now”, to being fully focused on the love and grace of God in the center of my need as my sufficiency. 

    loved this…

  • Jeanette Jdeleon

    Agreed, but I must admit that it took me a long time to come into agreement with that statement. Like the person in your story, I was clueless of what I really needed, therefore I was not feeling the love of God in my life. I had to surrender my list of priorities and “needs” and replace them with a kingdom mentality. Ironically, when I stopped searching for my needs and started focusing on God’s voice through the scriptures and a more active devotional life, He started showing me that He has more plans for me that I ever wished for. I know that I haven’t reached my destiny yet, but He has showed me that He is working on me. All of a sudden my list of needs was unnecessary. God’s plan and purposes for my life are much better, more fulfilling and everlasting. To God be the Glory.

  • craig

    if u come to the gift giver looking for the gift, you will receive neither, if u come looking for the gift giver for who the gift giver IS, u get both

  • Jill

    “Sometimes self sufficiency disguises its self as expectations.” WOW! Great! It reminds me of this story of Admiral Stockdale. At the end of my prayers, “God your will, not mine be done.” I don’t know what I don’t know and I can’t see what I can’t see. Be inspired by this 2 min. audio clip.
    http://www.jimcollins.com/media_topics/brutal-facts.html#audio=59

  • Alisha

    God is in the process of chipping away at an obstacle in my life that is keeping me from experience fullness in Christ. I don’t want just part of Jesus, I want the whole new creation package! “God’s love is located in the dead center of our need.” So true, and yet so hard for us to go there! I know the answer is stop trying and just to be, John 15:1-17 and Matthew 11:28-30, but someone please tell me HOW to abide in the Spirit! I want to rest. I want to please God without having to think about it. I want to lay down in His joy, peace and assurance. I know I am my own worst enemy, I am the problem, and I know that Jesus came so that I can have an abudant life in Him. I need help accessing it. Is this a lifetime struggle until I;’m glorified, or is there an answer?

  • Ted Crawford

    Methods! We are so “technique”oriented. When we reduce our relationship with a friend, a sibling, a spouse, or especially God, to a sequence of procedures, it’s called “manipulation”. True, there are consistencies inherent in the people we love. But God doesn’t like being treated like a cosmic vending machine; putting our quarters of faith in His slot, pulling His lever, and getting love, joy, peace, prosperity, etc. On the other side of the coin, God’s immutably consistent character traits cannot be ignored. So I’m gonna just leave it there, before I get too “technique-oriented”. Have a totally off-the-chain relationship!