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Editor’s Note: With so many churches in our area having to suspend worship services during the coronavirus pandemic, we are asking local pastors to partner with us in bringing a daily message of hope and comfort to readers during this difficult time.

Has anyone ever given you something, then later wanted you to give them something because “you owed them.” Many people view it that way, and sometimes we view God the same way. We seem to feel that He owes us. That is not the way it works in the Kingdom of God.

Many say God demands works from us — as if the more we work and do for God, then God will love us, accept us and give us more. I have found the more I feel I must do to please God, the more I feel I need to do. It becomes a never-ending cycle.

In the famous verse that we all know, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16), we’re told GOD SO LOVED; THEREFORE, HE GAVE! A very important passage that goes along with this one is, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

He did not wait till we were good enough or could measure up to his standard. If He did, we could never live long enough to meet that standard. He loved us while we were yet sinners. He gave His one and only son so that we could live.

If you are always trying to do things to gain someone’s love, then you are working to earn it. Many times, they will take advantage of you in this type of relationship. It does not work like that. Love is a free gift that is given in response to a relationship that has been built with another.

That’s what we have with God when we respond to His love and come into a relationship with Him. All God wants is that we love Him back. Our relationship is not based on how much I do for Him or how much He does for me. It is a relationship based on LOVE and response to that love. A freedom we have is to love.

Throughout the Bible, we find that people of God move by faith to obey what God asks of them. The book of James tells us that, “faith without works is dead.” Faith is stepping out, believing that what God is asking of us is for our good and He wants to bless us. Just as faith without works is dead, a one directional love is never truly realized.

This is about God finding pleasure in people’s ability to love. He tells us that if we love Him, we will love one another fore he loved us first; therefore, if we are born of love, then we will love. The Bible tells us, “If we say that we love God and hate our brother, we are a liar.” We then have no relationship with Him.

Allow God’s love to flow through you to others as His love flows to you. We are just a vessel to be used to transport God’s love to this world that is in desperate need of it.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: Just as I have loved you, you, also, are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love, one for another.” (John 13:34-35)

Duane Williams is pastor of New Horizons Ministry in Kingsport.

Duane Williams is pastor of New Horizons Ministry in Kingsport.