“It’s a real song, it’s a real story and it comes from a real place. For those who don’t know, our dad was locked up for five years, so that’s pretty much what inspired the song…My mom would always go to the jail and visit him and she would take me and my brother with her…It was such a touching story for us. Just looking at my mom and my dad like, wow, I love my momma for that and they’re still together to this day…We just felt like people would be able to connect with it on many different levels.”
This quote from R City’s Timothy Thomas about their latest offering called Locked Away brings even more meaning to an already meaningful song — wouldn’t you agree? I haven’t met a person yet who doesn’t at least get a bit misty-eyed when watching the video, because we really do “connect with it on many different levels.”
“Now tell me would you really ride for me?
Baby, tell me would you die for me?
Would you spend your whole life with me?
Would you be there to always hold me down?
Tell me would you really cry for me?
Baby, don’t lie to me
If I didn’t have anything
I wanna know, would you stick around?”
—From Locked Away by R City
These questions are commonplace in the human experience, because deep down we long for—in fact, we crave—security, belonging and unconditional love.
But…it is also commonplace for us to be let down, betrayed and even abandoned—right? So in many ways the questions being asked can never be answered “yes” 100% of the time, because time after time we fail in our attempts to stay faithful and true to the people we love, or the people we love are unfaithful to us.
In those seasons, we can feel very Locked Away. We shut the door of our feelings and throw away the key. We sit in the dungeon of our disloyalties and duplicities wondering if there will ever be anyone who would ride for us—or even die for us.
If that’s you, then I have fantastic news that can be life changing in so many ways…God’s love is not locked away! But don’t take my word for it—listen to the words of our Father and let them be the key that opens the doors that keep you locked away:
Psalm 36:5 “Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies” (NIV).
Jeremiah 31:3 “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness” (NIV).
Psalm 52:8b “I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever” (NIV).
Ephesians 3:17-19 “…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (NIV).
Exodus 34:6 “And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness’” (NIV).
Romans 8:35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (NIV).
Psalm 136:2 “Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever” (NIV).
And here’s the thing—God’s unconditional love for you is never missing and never ending! You can face anything, because you have a relationship with a Father and a Savior and a Friend that is a rock in any storm and an unbreakable safety net in any endeavor. Jesus died for you, and when you go through the difficult days, He cries for you as well.
So if you are feeling locked up this week and isolated from a love that is unconditional, reflect on God’s Word to set you free, then go out and share His love with everyone you meet. Because of Jesus, you can show Him all your flaws, and you never need to feel alonel, because honestly, He will always love you!
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
Be comforted and confident in God’s unconditional love, and refuse to let the conditional love of this world lock you away.
Accelerant: Fuel for THE Cause
Pray: Father, we thank You and praise You for your unconditional love and the promise that it endures forever. May we spread Your love to a lost and hurting world.
Read: Hebrews 13:5b. “…Be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
Get: Live It Up! Student Devotional. Living life to the full! Experiencing a joy-filled, all-in, God-breathed life lived on the edge! Knowing Him and making Him known! This is what it really means to LIVE IT UP! Because only in living this kind of upwardly-focused life can true joy be found. Based on snapshots from the life of Christ, this 30-day devo will help you cultivate a LIVE IT UP lifestyle that impacts your world for Jesus! Pick up your copy today! A corresponding Live It Up! youth group curriculum is also available.
Discussion Guide for Leaders
Want to use this Soul Fuel as a bible study with your students this week? Copy and text them the following: “Want to experience a love that provides security, belonging, and unconditional giving of itself? Read this week’s devo to learn more about this love and where you can find it: http://hubs.ly/H01d1GW0”
Big Idea: God’s unconditional love is the only true and dependable source of acceptance in the world.
Key Scripture: Psalm 136:2
- What do you like or not like about Locked Away?
- Why do we all crave unconditional love?
- What can you do to start experiencing God’s unconditional love?
- What other ways could you apply this Soul Fuel to living for THE Cause?