I have been reading a book that encourages you to spend a specific amount of time each day just thinking about God’s love for you. When I first read the suggestion, I yawned. Maybe not literally, but figuratively. I couldn’t help but think, “You have got to be kidding me. We all know that God loves us. It’s the main point of Christendom!” But I decided to do it anyway, and within just a few days I made some startling revelations.
While I am very comfortable with the idea, “For God so loved the world…” I am less comfortable with the idea that God loves me, and that His love for me is perfect. It is a love that I can rely on. It is a love that I can trust. I can trust Him.
There is no “He doesn’t love me if…” or “He doesn’t love me when…”
There is nothing I can do to make Him love me more.
There is nothing I can do to make Him love me less.
His love for me is perfect.
And when I get to heaven, God won’t love me any more than He does right now.
He loves me fully, completely, and without exception. He always has and He always will.
And I’ve discovered that I have a hard time believing that! I think most of us do. We tend to think that our past failures have disqualified us from full-love status. We buy into the idea that there is a hierarchy of the loved, and we didn’t make the cut. We look at our circumstances and assume that they are a measure of God’s love or lack thereof. We assume that as Master of the Universe, He is busy with a lot of very important things, and we should simply take the leftovers He has to give.
But these are all lies. And do you know where those lies take us? To fear. John, the brother of Jesus, tells us, “Perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love for us.” (I John 4:18NLT)
“Perfect love expels all fear.” Perfect love heals anxiety. Perfect love brings peace. The more we understand and experience the perfect love of our Heavenly Father, the more we will see our fear and anxiety dissipate and the more we will enjoy peace. And do not miss the flip side: When we fail to understand and experience the perfect love of our Heavenly Father, fear and anxiety are a natural byproduct. When we are not enjoying the perfect love of our Father…
We look to others who can only disappoint.
We look to ourselves and we cannot possibly be enough or do enough.
We look to possessions and accomplishments that cannot satisfy.
We look to the things of this world that are completely unreliable.
It is our Heavenly Father’s perfect love that we long for. And only His love will satisfy.
Here is what the past few weeks have taught me… The more I seek to mentally and emotionally embrace the love my God has for me and to allow His love to permeate my day, the less I worry about how my needs will be met. The more I trust that God loves me and sees the best in me, the less concerned I am about what others might be thinking. The more I focus on God’s crazy love, the less I worry about my children. He loves them perfectly too!
I can quit being afraid of life. I can quit being afraid of failure. I can quit being afraid of people, of situations, of obstacles. I can quit being afraid of my past failure or future failure. I can quit worrying! Because my God adores me! My relationship with my God is foremost and always about His unconditional, immeasurable love for me. And living in that destroys anxiety – and peace always follows.
Understanding and embracing God’s love for us is our most important step toward peace.
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