Do you truly know and believe that God loves you?
Maybe you thought that was a stupid question. If someone asked me that, my first inner response would be, “What a dumb question…”
Most of us would say, “Of course, I know God loves me, He gave Christ for me, and I am saved by Him.” I believe that to really know that God loves us and believe it, we need to take the knowledge we have and let it be surpassed by our faith.
Let me explain and maybe I can shed some of His light on what has been several weeks in the making.
There is a distinct difference between having and accepting the knowledge of what God has done for us and how He loves us and knowing and believing it is true.
Ephesians 3:18-19 says, “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the Lord’s Holy people, to grasp how wide and long, and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses all knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
The Greek word for knowledge in this passage is gnosis, which means a present and fragmentary knowledge. Not complete and full. But God! He wants us to have more than a broken and fragmented idea of who He is. He wants us to be filled to HIS measure of fullness. Not ours.
We have the knowledge that God loves us, we have learned that through His sacrifice, we have a practical understanding of that sacrifice and what it means. I liken it to knowing the sky is blue, the ocean is deep and the sun is hot and space is huge!
Let’s look at believe.
Webster defines believe as: accept as true, feel sure of the truth. Have faith.
In the Greek, believe (pisteuo) means: firm conviction, to entrust, to commit, assurance and faithfulness.
So now we know that our knowledge can be fragmented, and while we know it, it may not be fully embedded into our beliefs. The second thing that we have to look at before we can further dissect whether or not we believe that God loves us is to determine what God is.
God IS love. Love is not just something God has for us, it is who He is. I can hear you now. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know God is love. Are you going to share something we don’t know already?” Maybe and maybe not, depends on where you are in your journey. But I do have a point, so bear with me.
For humans, love is a verb. We have so many love songs that tell us so, we know that “actions speak louder than words” when we show someone we care. Even John Mayer wrote a song called Love is a Verb. For us humans, we think that in order for something or someone to love us, it has to be visibly shown.
It ain’t a thing
It’s not something you own
It’s not something you scream
I don’t need your words
Yeah love ain’t a thing
Love is a verb
Love ain’t a thing
Love is a verb”
That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t show those we love, that we love them. The point that I am leading up to is that we need to go back to that fundamental understanding of who and what God is and that will lead us to know more about who and what we are to God, and how He sees us. God is not only going to show us how He loves us but since He IS love, (noun) that unfailing love will be perfect even in discipline. That love will never lead you astray, take you where you should not go, and it will never tell you that you are less than His beautiful and beloved creation. It isn’t the definition and perception the world has built into us about what love is.
“If God exists and He really loves the world, why is there so much pain?”
“God doesn’t really love the world or He wouldn’t let bad things happen to nice people.”
I know each of us has heard this, and many of us have pondered why God let’s the world go on in its broken fashion. What I have been shown over the past 8 weeks is that our human definitions are broken. Because we cannot see things how God sees them, we have laws and punishments for those that hurt others. It is what keeps our tiny little spinning world from erupting into chaos. But God doesn’t see the world as a barometer for good and bad. One mistake, one simple mistake, even an unintentional sin, is what creates the chasm of separation between us and our Holy Creator. He doesn’t see one sin worse than another. It truly is black and white to God. You either sin or you don’t. And since He had to send His son on the most Holy of hero rescue missions so that not a single one of us would be lost, that means none of us did a very good job of trying to get their on our own.
When God looks at this world, he doesn’t see the shades of grey that we do. Acknowledging that we don’t understand what He sees is okay, trying to pretend that your brother or sister has sinned worse than you so you can feel absolved from the shame and guilt of your sin, IS NOT.
Ever briefly lusted after someone? One ticket to Hell and eternal separation from God, please!
Ever told a white lie? Yes, I would like the first-class seats to fire and damnation!
I am not trying to make you feel guilty or be all DOOM DOOM DOOM!
I want you to see the point in order for us to understand that God IS love and that God loves us so much despite all of what we are without him, that he gave us a way to get back.
We need to see the distinction that there was never and will never be anything we can do to make our way into God’s graces without Christ and because He knew that and His love was so great, he provided us with the ultimate in plastic surgery. When you accepted Christ, you got a facelift and a full body makeover to be presented as God’s bride (yes bride, and no it doesn’t matter what your gender is).
When we really think about how we view ourselves, often our vision is skewed, distorted by the expectations of this world, their ideas, and values on what we should look like and who we should be. The only vision of ourselves we should look at is the one that our Creator has given us of who we are. Once we can look at God’s photograph of us, instead of the distorted, photoshopped, botox injected image we have created ourselves, we will be able to see more clearly why God loves us, why His love is in us, and why He would do anything to endear us to Himself.
Believing that God loves us, that it is in His very nature to love us and adore us because God is love, is one of the biggest keys to your freedom that He could offer you. The enemy has stolen our identity, and we let him. I have a serious point to make here and one that I hope really helps you look inside yourself. It helped me and while it is a daily choice, I can see myself a little more clearly.
We have a real enemy in this world, and while we have one the war and we will find ourselves in a new heaven and new earth until Christ comes back and God makes things new, we have work do to here, and we have someone who wants to render us ineffective.
If you have ever felt like a target, if you are always being tested, or that trials are endlessly yours to navigate, there is a reason. One we don’t often think of. The enemy of our living effective faith and belief infused lives is Satan, and guess what? He sees you the same way God does. He sees what is inside of you that can impact the world and how the power inside of you will reach so many. You are a danger to his plan to dominate the world and lead us all into lives of complacency. Understand this, you may be saved, your eternity may be assured, but your time here can either be effective for sharing who brought you into freedom, or it can be rendered into a sad experience of just waiting for death or God to bring us home. I certainly don’t want to know that I had a chance to make a difference and I let the enemy break down the gifts God has given me.
Burglars don’t break into empty houses. If you are under attack, and you feel like everything is harder than it should be it is because the enemy know that inside of you is the gifts that God hasn’t given anyone else and they could change someone’s world. Satan doesn’t want that!
John 10:10 says that, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” God has defeated the theif, Christ defeated death and He has come “that we may have life, and have it to the full.”
Do you realize that whenever God says he wants to give us something it isn’t halfway? There is always more than enough of what he has for us that we can give it away and still be full. Upcoming author, and a huge inspiration to me, Vanessa Walker (www.vanessajoywalker.com) says, “We go through trials and learn to lean on God so that the comfort He gives us can be given away. His comfort, not ours. so that we can take the comfort and joy that God has given us and give it away. When we are generous with our comfort and with our joy, we won’t run out. It is God’s living water, and there is always more than we could ever imagine.”
We have to take back what the enemy has stolen from us. The identity that was given to us by God in Christ. I tell my girls all the time when I can hear the bug of comparison and teenage drama begin to rear its ugly head and the potential for doubting who they are begins to surface, “God made you and God don’t make junk.” When the time comes that I have to love my kids through discipline, I always remember that if I am going through something that feels a lot like a punishment that maybe God is disciplining me. He is a perfect father, and I can always know, that since I learned love from God, and despite needing to discipline my own children from time to time, it doesn’t mean I love them less. On the contrary, it shows the depth of my love when I want to help them learn a lesson that is going to make their life better in the future.
One of the most painful things you can hear from your child amidst discipline is that you don’t love them. Only one of my kids has ever said this, and in the heat of our miniature battle, with tears streaming down her face, she said, “You must hate me.” It broke my heart. I cried with her. It hurt me to think that just because I was trying to help her understand this moment better that she felt like I couldn’t love her.
It showed me something critical and I can never unlearn this (and Thank God for that) . If God is willing to take the time to discipline me, to shape me, to put me through the refiner’s fire, (Malachi 3) how much must He love me? How broken and how horrible must God’s grief be when we lash out and say that in the midst of trial and discipline that we allow unbelief of His love and who we are in Him to infiltrate our hearts.
We want to take who God is, and what His love looks like and put it inside our human flawed box. That puts limits, judgments and faulty understanding on it. Instead, we need to remove the emotion from this scenario.
You are beloved, clothed in Christ, loved in ways you cannot imagine and the enemy is quite literally hell-bent on making you ineffective by distorting how you see who you are.
Believing who you are, and having faith in what that means starts with God, put your belief back where it belongs, with God, in Christ, and letting the Holy Spirit be there to guide you along the way.
God is love and our belief in Him is not a feeling, it is a choice. I can choose to embrace my emotional definition of God’s love and my glaringly inadequate understanding that He IS love, or I could take God at his word. The examples of how and why He loves us are so numerous in His word. And if you don’t take what I say about it then go to His word and His truth. He will show you that He is waiting for you to choose to believe and when you do, then He will prove it.
Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.