Archive for February, 2017

You Are Loved!

Many of us have a distorted experience of being loved. This is because we had to please and gain approval before we could expect being love. It was conditional, and if we didn’t meet the conditions we could expect criticism, loss of status, and punishment.

However, my Grandma gave me a different experience. I didn’t fear punishment or criticism from her. She seemed to have already decided that I was okay and special and I didn’t feel pressure from her to always perform to certain standards to feel her love. She looked at me with loving eyes and seemed to like what she saw. I relaxed when she was around. God used her to give me a taste of how he loves me.

But for much of early my life, I didn’t experience this kind of love. Not until I became a Christian when I was twenty-six and a couple who introduced me to God and then discipled me, did I experience being deeply loved. Later, my wife enabled me to experience God’s gentleness, affection, and faithfulness. Also, the love of God has shone through in the lives of the people who have been in my small groups.

Then, twelve years ago, I started seminary and began to connect to God in a deeper, more experiential way. I began to relate to God in a more contemplative manner where through faith I sat at the feet of Jesus and received his gift of love.

What Does Being Loved By God Mean?

God’s love for you is not based on you–it’s based on him. You are loved because he is in the business of loving unlovable people, of which we all qualify. So, don’t look for a reason in yourself. Every other kind of love you experience has conditions attached to it. With God’s love, there are no strings attached if you are his child through receiving his gift of salvation.

This means that God is always patient with you. He is kind, forgiving, and always seeks what is best for you. And he believes in you, always hoping and expecting the best from you (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

God’s love for you will never stop. No sin or failure will take God’s love away from you. He loves you so much that he wants to always share life with you. He honors you will his presence. Throughout your life he will plead, urge, and encourage you like a good father does, and care for you as a good mother cares for her children (1 Thessalonians 2:8-12).

Why His Love for You is Important to Experience

Experiencing God’s love drives out your fears, as God says to us,” Perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). It’s more than just knowing what the Bible says, but feeling and living like it’s true.

Another reason to experience God’s love is so that you can be godly. The bottom line that God uses to measure your life is how well you have loved. Unless you experience being loved, you can’t pass his love on to others. You fail as a Christian if you fail to love well, both God and others.

A third reason to experience God’s love is to keep you from idols. We have a deep need to feel loved and if that is not met in an intimate relationship with God, we seek to realize it in idols. Those idols could be in a spouse, people’s approval, or being needed. The sad reality is that idols never give you the unconditional love that you long for.

Finally, experiencing God’s love can help you to face the sometimes-terrifying future. After running for his life for many years David could write, “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life” (Psalm 23:6). No matter how bad the circumstances looked, he had confidence that God loved him and would bring much good into his years ahead.

May we all grow in accepting that we are loved. This is who we are. This is our primary identity. Not a failure, not an engineer, and not a mother, but a person who is deeply loved by God.

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