You Can’t Earn Love

by Lester Young

Finally, Moses couldn’t take it anymore. This was his second extended visit into the LORD God’s Presence, with them communing together and generally just enjoying each others’ company (Exodus 24:18, 31:18, 33:17, 34:28). The desire overwhelmed him, and not being able to hold it in any longer, he blurted out, “I beg You, show me Your glory! [I wanna know the biggest, weightiest, most magnificent thing about You – the most important attribute that makes You You!” (Exodus 33:18 paraphrased, of course)]

Now, we all should realize that God actually does have a well-developed sense of humor, as referenced by His response to Moses’ very insistent request. Basically, for all intents and purposes, the LORD quipped, “Well, I could show you, kid; but then I’d have to kill you” (Exodus 33:20 yes, yes; more paraphrasing). But the other part of His answer, found in verse 19 right before it, is even more interesting: He told Moses that He’d declare His Name (which translates into Word and represents everything He actually is) to him.

If Moses’ inquiry about God were put to the average human being, what do you suppose his or her initial off-the-cuff response would be? His power? His omnipotence? I suspect some might even say His judgment or wrath. But when confronted with the question Himself, of all the personal attributes available for Him to select from, isn’t it curious that God identified first of all, “the LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious…” (Exodus 34:6).

‘Mercy and grace’: undeserved acquittal and favor – things that cannot be earned. Notions that by the sheer definitions and inferences of the words themselves make clear the futility on our part of any attempted effort to win them. You can never work long enough or hard enough or sincerely enough to deserve mercy and grace from God (Ephesians 2:9). But we needed them, and that’s precisely the reason He went ahead and gave them to us as a Gift, wrapped up in Jesus Christ…frankly, because He just loved us (Romans 5:17; Ephesians 2:8; John 3:16).

You know, when you think about it, that just makes perfect sense because Love can’t be earned, either. Think about it for a moment. A person may give you ‘the moon and the stars’ and open every door for you on this side of the planet, but will that really make you love them? It might endear them to you. It could even make you like them. But will it actually buy your undying love toward them? No, not automatically; because Love cannot be bought or sold – it can only be given (Song of Solomon 8:7; Romans 13:8).

You wanna know why love really can’t be earned? Do you, huh? Okay, here it is (drum roll): Because true love isn’t based at all on the ‘lovee;’ it’s based on the ‘lover.’ It flows out of the one doing the loving – the one acting in love toward the other – and not the one getting the loving, and it originates directly from the lover’s choice to do so. So the lovee’s ‘actions’ have, in actuality, no relevance at all – unless the lover chooses to factor them into the decision-making process, thereby making his or her love conditional and contingent upon certain ‘attached strings.’ (Recall the unconditional love the father showed to his ‘prodigal’ son [Luke 15: 20-24].)

The truest, deepest and purest love of all is rooted in a decision to do so, in a no-turning-back choice to give of oneself (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). It does not have its basis in any type of ‘feeling’ – that’s our human, carnal counterpart emotion. That’s why you can’t earn God’s love (or anyone’s else, for that matter), because it’s solely up to Him whether He’ll give it. Fortunately for us, however, the Lord finalized His choice long ago, and He hasn’t changed His mind since (Genesis 3:15; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8). For God sooo loved [you and me], that He gave (John 3:16).

But why does the Father love us so much? Have you ever wondered that to yourself? I used to, until one day when I was talking to my granddaughter Amari on the telephone and she said to me, “Granddaddy, I miss you!” I told her, “Aww, Sweetie, I miss you too.” Just to see what she’d say next, I asked, “Why do you miss me?” And she responded, “Because I just miss you.” To tell you the truth, that was the greatest answer she could’ve ever given me: “Just because.”

God loves us ‘just because.’ We couldn’t earn His love in a million lifetimes, so we might as well stop trying to get it that way. We don’t have to anyhow, because He’s already given it to us. He is Love, after all (1 John 4:8, 16) – what else is He going to do?

If you like us, then be sure to LIKE Us…Thanks!


2 Comments to “You Can’t Earn Love”

  1. Beautiful…I love and have always loved this story of Moses. But it conjures up too, not only knowing God but knowing God’s people. We get glimpses of each other and because God loves us I know that the future holds for us long conversations, and silent contemplation on how we are one body in Christ. You are an excellent teacher. I’ve said it before I know but still you are an excellent teacher.

    • And I’ll never get tired of hearing you say it, Sandra — thank you! 🙂 A very astute observation you’ve made too, and I agree…as we become more aware of and accustomed to the thought of God really loving us personally, I think it becomes easier to begin seeing each other as the Father sees us, and we develop an ability to hear others’ hearts as we ‘read between their lines.’ It makes our own heart softer and more sensitive toward them. Again, many thanks…


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