Perhaps it was my early church teaching that causes me to struggle with the concept that God loves me. I believe He can love others. I believe He loves the homeless person on the street and the struggling inner-city mom trying to hold her family together. But I am less sure that He always loves me. I know me. I know what lies hidden in my heart. I know my reactions. I know my thoughts. God knows all of that too. So in the sad and difficult moments I wonder how He could possibly love me.
Perhaps that is your struggle as well.
Philip Yancey wrote these thoughts in What’s So Amazing About Grace. “Sociologists have a theory of the looking-glass self: you become what the most important person in your life (wife, father, boss, etc.) thinks you are. How would my life change if I truly believed the Bible’s astounding words about God’s love for me, if I looked in the mirror and saw what God sees?”
I am learning to look into the mirror and see someone that I accept by faith and not by my feelings. I see a saint. That’s right. Many (maybe all) of Satan’s accusations about me are true. But what I now see is a man who is a saint. I found twenty-nine references to the “saints” in Paul’s writings. I am pretty sure from the content of his writings that they were not always behaving like saints. They were saints because of Christ and not by meticulously following the law.
God sees those who trust Jesus as holy. No matter how many accusations are thrown at me God sees me as holy. Amazing.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1, NLT)
That is my (and your) identity. Holy and without fault in His eyes. I will be accused again and probably sooner than later. But I am learning to simply say this to myself.
“That is not who I am anymore. I am a saint who sometimes sins. I am holy because of Christ.”
There may be no more important element to living fully in the moment with God than accepting that you are loved by Him right now just as you are. That is so counterintuitive to how “love” so often works in our experience. I will love you while you are attractive. I will love you when you make me happy. I will love you when you do what I ask you to do. Human love is almost always conditional. That is not God’s love.
The attributes of God’s love are mind boggling. It is personal. We can relate to God the Creator of the universe as our Father. Think about that. I mean really think about that. I love this thought from Brennan Manning. “We should be astonished at the goodness of God, stunned that he should bother to call us by name, our mouths wide open at his love, bewildered that at this very moment we are standing on holy ground.”
We are conditioned to believe that if something seems too good to be true that we are being deceived. That is what the aforementioned accuser would have us to believe. But the stunning radicality of grace is that what seems to be too good to be true is more true than we can imagine. This unconditional love from God is unrelated to the emotions, expectations and desires that taint our human love.
- God’s love is offered to the undeserving and unworthy.
- God’s love does not consider status, gender, color, nationality, wealth, or educational achievement.
- God loves us first. He is the one who woos us to Him.
- God’s love is one way. He is the patient lover who never leaves and is always there when His child finally comes home.
- This love is ours. We don’t have to do a single thing except bring our wounds and sin to the loving Great Physician.
I am choosing to believe that today. I am going to allow God to love me today. I am not going to attempt to earn that love. I am not going to remind myself why I am not worthy. I am going to open my arms and my heart to His love. My feelings ebb and flow. God’s feelings for me are an eternal fountain of grace. Jump in the fountain today. Splash around. Laugh. Rejoice. You are loved. You are cherished. You are adored. You are the child of the King. Live like it today.