Some time ago, I wrote about being struck by the incredible and simple understanding that we are created by God. (The poor grammar in that last is intentional. I believe God does not stop creating us, but desires to form and shape us throughout our lives.) You can read that post here. Please forgive the writing. It was long ago.
I believe there is a specific person that God created each of us to be. All of the unique components in your life are there for a reason. God created you, and he created you the way he did for a reason, to be a certain person. When we become the people we were created to be, we are free to live the lives we were created to live.
I will argue the life we have been created to live has a common element (a handful of shared characteristics we were all created to embody) and a unique element (there are parts of who God desires for you to be that cannot be duplicated by anyone else in the world).
Simply put the common element of this life is the character of Christ. Being a disciple (not doing discipleship) transforms our inner character into the character of Christ. And it begins with love. We are created to live lives marked with a deep, deep love, lives absolutely driven by love for God, self, and others.
The love I am writing about is not the love of pizza, Starbucks, or the Chicago Cubs. This love is deeper. It is agape, love unconditional. We love others because we have been transformed by God’s crazy love toward us. C.S. Lewis wrote, “Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.” God’s is the perfected version of this love.
It is the kind of love that would send a father running to forgive a scornful son before he has any opportunity to show remorse. It is the kind of love that would compel God to send his son to live and to die so that we might live. It is the kind of love that would drive Jesus to submit himself to the most brutal for of execution ever devised and to do so before any sign of repentance on our part.
It is amazing how having a child changes the way you understand this love. I swear my heart grew the day my son was born. I didn’t know it was possible for that much love to exist within me. Since that day, he has grown into the cutest, smartest, most amazing toddler in the world (though I may be a bit biased).
At times, he can be an incredible momma’s boy. There are days when he will not allow me to read or carry him. Sometimes he flat out rejects me. I’ll walk in the door after a day at work and I get a big smile, but from that moment on, he wants nothing to do with me. If I am honest, it hurts a little. I know he doesn’t mean it, but it still makes me sad. Yet in that very moment, I look at that little goober and I think that my heart might burst because there is no way it could be big enough to contain all the love I have for him.
The love of God is like that, but even better, if you can imagine. And that is the kind of love we begin to experience for others when we take on the character of Christ. When we get a glimpse of this love we cannot help but respond in kind. It is like a virus that grows and divides and infects us with a desire to love others in the same way we are loved, unconditionally.