I'm starting see that our modern emotional view of love is entirely selfish which is directly opposed to Biblical love. The Biblical notion of divine love I see in Paul's writings is a righteous love. It seems to have more to do with justice than feelings.
"God manifests his own love (agape) for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us... Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath [of God]... [W]hile we were enemies [of God], we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son."
I'm starting to wonder if our modern evangelical gospel is warped too, largely related to the Emotional Jesus who we believe loves us unconditionally. Where in the Bible does it say, "Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life?" Where in the Bible does it say, "Ask Jesus into your heart," which is generally the phrasing used in emotionally manipulative and tearful altar calls I heard for most of my life in the church I grew up attending.
One of my best friends re-ignited this line of thinking in me, but these thoughts have been bouncing around in my head for years. I have really struggled to reconcile the emotional love preached from the pulpit and seen in our culture with the love I see in the Bible. My friend is (thankfully) pointing me back to Scripture, and I'm not finding a lot of feel-good love in Scripture. The love I see is a sacrificial love that cost Jesus everything. It is anti-selfish love, not the all-about-me love prevalent in our culture and even our churches.
Jesus seems to have a different view of love than the unconditional affirmation view held by many in the modern evangelical church. Four times in John 14, Jesus says some variant of, "If you love me, you will obey what I command." The last instance is an inversion of this: "He who does not love me will not obey my teaching." The very words of Jesus Himself tell us that our love for God is demonstrated by our obedience. God's love for us was demonstrated by Jesus being obedient to the Father even unto death. Seems to me that love is tied up inextricably with obedience, is it not?
If our love is directly tied to our obedience, then is OUR love for God conditional? Yes, it is! It is conditional on our obedience. So, can we really justify our expectation of unconditional love from God when we love God conditionally? Where is the justice in that? Why should we expect to receive what we do not give? Thank God for grace and the obedience of Jesus in going to the Cross even if He didn't feel like doing it.