“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.”
-John 15:13-14 (NIV)
“I know God says He loves me, but I just don’t feel it. I tell others how much he loves them, I believe he does. I help others to look to trust Him in his love, I am learning to obey him and follow his commands, but I just don’t feel he loves me.”
This was the comment from a member in a group I was leading. They echoed my own feelings and thoughts nearly three years ago; when I had cried because I was unable to feel God’s love for me. Head knowledge and the church told me, Jesus loves me. The bible tells me I am one of his children and therefore I should be loved. Why then was I having such a hard time with this knowledge and why were others echoing the same sentiments? What expectation did we have and what measure were we using to measure God’s love for us? Why did we believe that we were unlovable by God?
We have been deceived by the enemy into believing that the sins of our past are so terrible, they make us unloveable. This thinking separates us from God and the purpose he has for us in our life. By holding onto this lie, we worship the enemy. In believing that we are unloveable and our sins are unforgivable, we are believing that our sin is more powerful than God’s ability to forgive and Jesus’ act on the cross which brought us salvation. Satan has wrongly gained a foothold in our lives and our disobedience to trust God, leads us into further sin. We have wrongly attributed love to a feeling, when in reality love is a verb. Love is an action and Jesus has already shown this to us and revealed it to us when he said, “there is no greater love, than to lay down one’s life for a friend.”
Opening my devotion one morning, a message that I had read many times before was suddenly made clear. I love those moments when understanding comes to words divinely given and tidbits of treasure are found. Many people have at one time or another, experienced the drought of God’s love on their lives. As we work through healing and learning to forgive ourselves of past mistakes and future slip ups, we can learn to understand that there is no exception to whom Jesus loves. We are all recipients of this amazing gift. The devotion that had been made alive to me this day, stated that to recognize God’s love over us, we also need to recognize that this is a faith based acceptance. We must believe by faith, that God loves us, before we can accept that he does.
I have been working on many different studies over the past 4 years. All of them have led up to this moment in time where I finally was able to grasp the truth and to know that I am loved. If you read, The Love Dare, written by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick, and featured in their movie Fireproof, you will see love is an action. In the Old Testament and still in some cultures today, marriages were arranged and not based on love attraction, but one could grow to learn to love their spouse. How does this work? It is through the understanding that love is about giving of oneself without expectation of anything in return. It is the selfless giving of your own life for the sake of others. It is about honouring Jesus with our lives and making him the centre of it all. It is about meeting the command to love one another as we love ourselves and to do everything for the glory of God. It is not about pleasing people, but obeying and pleasing God. Jesus shares with us in John 15:13, that we have the greatest gift to give others EVER…. to be willing to lay down your life for a friend. In these words, is the truth about whether or not we are loved by Jesus.
I have loved this verse from the first time I read it. “You did not choose me, but I chose you…” (John 15:16). Jesus looked out upon his creation with the Father and loved us. He left his peace and perfection, his throne in Heaven and came down to become flesh and blood. He was tempted, as we are tempted. He wept in deep sorrow and grief, as we weep in sorrow and grief. He felt weakness and prayed to his Father for strength to continue on the path that had been laid out before him. Yet in all this, he did not sin. Instead, ‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus became the example of what we are to strive for in our thought, word and deed, taking on our sin and giving to us his righteousness. He has declared that we can confidently approach the throne of grace to receive his mercy and help when we need it. We can do all this, knowing that He loves us with an agape love, an unconditional love for us.
Uncovering the truth, that in order for us to receive the love of Christ, we must acknowledge it as an act of faith, has brought with it an awareness of what it is to be loved by God. I encourage each of you, my brothers and sisters, to walk confidently in the knowledge that God loves you and gives to you without exception or expectation. There is none undeserving, there is no sin so terrible that cannot be washed clean from the act on the cross. It was Jesus’ love for YOU that kept him there; the nails were for people and people alone. Those who believe in him, will know the truth and the truth will set you free! He loves you with an everlasting love! In faith you have accepted Christ as your savior, in faith, accept and believe that you are loved by God.… there is no, “yes but…” anywhere in the scriptures.
Jesus loves me, this I know, for the bible tells me so.
I pray for those who need to know how much you love them. I pray that the eyes of their hearts will be enlightened to hear the message of love which you pour out for them. The spilling of Jesus’ blood for the forgiveness of sins, complete and without record keeping, was done with their name engraved on the palm of His hand. May their hearts be softened so that they can receive the pouring out of his blood to them, and receive the promise in faith, that they are deeply loved, completely forgiven, fully accepted and complete in Christ. They are enough! And they are loved by You!
In Jesus Name,
Hebrews 4:14-16, Jeremiah 31:3, Romans 8:38