Many believers struggle with understanding God’s love for them. Why do we base God’s love on our performance or our current life situation? Have you asked this question to yourself, “does God love me?”
The quick answer is, He does. However, it’s one thing to know intellectually and it’s another thing to truly believe in God’s immense love for you.
I must confess, sometimes I struggle to understand God’s love for me. I always tell myself I know His love, but do I really know His love? This is a painful topic for me. Why you ask? It’s painful because I know that nothing breaks God’s heart more than when His children doubt His great love for them.
Why is it such a struggle to understand His love? I constantly find myself crying out to the Lord with viscous tears desperately desiring to know His love more. Sometimes I just want to die and be with Him. I just want to know His love.
In my struggle to know and understand God’s love for me, God’s grace is so profound. He doesn’t give up on me. As sinful people our love can be so conditional, but not God. In my struggle He is faithful. In my doubt His love for me runs so deep. Sometimes I think to myself, “how can this be? I deserve the worst!” We try to act as God in our life. We desire to punish ourselves for our poor performance as His children.
We reject His love because instead of looking to Him, we look to ourselves. I’m so quick to quit on people and I expect God to treat me the same way. As I write this, Isaiah 55:8-9 comes to mind. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
My heart can be so dull at times. I tend to forget that God has never left me. I’m the one who tries to find love and meaning in everything but God. Our shame leads us to believe that we’re not worthy of love and belonging. However, even in our dull moments God is continually giving us an open invitation to come Him. God wouldn’t stop loving you even if you told Him to because “God is love.” It’s what He is, He can’t stop loving you!
The fall of Adam and God’s love.
Do you remember when Adam ate from the tree? What did Adam do when the Lord was coming? He ran! He hid! He was afraid, and he was filled with guilt and shame. Picture the scene in your mind. We’re talking about a man in Adam who just damaged the love relationship between him and the Father. He brought sin into this world. At this point Adam is far worse than any criminal that we have ever witnessed. He caused spiritual death.
However, when God comes what does God say? God knows what just happened. He knows everything. In Genesis 3:9 He says, “Where are you?” Why is God so good to us? It’s indescribable! While Adam was running away from God because of his guilt, God was calling Adam. God was worried about Adam.
He says, “where are you?” We see a picture of a loving father who is frantically searching for his lost child. Imagine yourself as a loving parent who has just lost a child. Would you be worried about that child’s sin? At that moment all you care about is that child. Some of you are running away from the very thing that you need, which is God.
We will never be able to love others in the way that God loves us. God desires you. He is not mad at you. He just wants you! Do you sense God speaking directly to you when He says, “where are you?” God made a way for that guilt that you have been holding on to. He put it on the back of His Son and He has nailed it to the cross. He has taken care of it. There is no more shame and condemnation for those in Christ. Jesus paid for all of it.
God has given us an open invitation to come to Him.
Look at this pattern in the Bible of the Lord telling His people to come.
- Isaiah 55:1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters”
- Song of Solomon 4:8 “Come with me from Lebanon.”
- Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
- John 1:39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
- Revelation 22:17 “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”
God is always calling His people to come, but it’s Satan who says, “don’t go to Him.” Satan continually tries to remind us of the guilt and the shame that Christ has taken away. It’s either you are going to believe Satan or you’re going to believe God. We have to realize who we are in Jesus Christ.
You are “a people for His own possession.” You are “a royal priesthood.” You are an “ambassador for Christ.” We are “heirs of God.” You are so loved! Even in our imperfection He loves us and He is continually restoring us into the perfect image of His Son.
God’s love for us is hard to believe sometimes because His love is too deep. His love is too wide. His love is so amazing. My only option is to believe by faith and since I know God is faithful, I can be confident in Him. You can’t surprise God. If God says “come,” then come. Run to Him and don’t turn back to those shackles of slavery.
Christ died to prove the love of God for you.
Picture a meteor coming right for you. Now picture Christ at the last second jumping right in front of that meteor and saving you from the meteor. That’s what Christ did because of His love for you.
He jumped in front of the wrath of God. Christ died and gave up His life to prove the love of God for you, which is what we learn in Romans 5:8. He gave His life for the ungodly. He gave His life to forgive us all of our sins. It’s not God’s wrath that rests upon those in Christ, it’s God’s smile that rests upon those in Christ.
Two words that God keeps on telling me is “be still.” It’s so hard to hear the Lord when we are worrying and when we are occupied with other things. Ask God, how do you feel about me? Help me to understand your love. Then, think about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Be still and meditate on the gospel of redeeming grace. Close your eyes and picture Christ taking your place. It’s such a beautiful picture. It was love that was poured out on the cross. When God sees you His heart beats faster because He sees the perfect work of His Son.
Growing in your love relationship with God.
One thing I’ve learned as a believer is that doing things for the Lord does not substitute for a growing love relationship with Him. I know I struggle with this, but it’s my struggle that makes me love Him all the more. I know love comes from God and if I’m growing in my love for Him. How much more does He love me!
I can never outdo God. This makes me more confident in His feelings toward me. For those of you who may struggle sometimes with understanding God’s love such us as myself, be strong.
The day is coming! There is going to be a day when we experience the full manifestations of God’s love. As for now, God is working on building that love relationship with us as He reveals to us His love for us daily.
Always remember this, we have a High Priest who sympathizes with our weakness. He understands our weakness and intercedes for us. – Hebrews 4:15