I’ve had a hard time in the past believing that God really loves me. That I don’t have to earn His affection. That nothing I have done or will do changes His love for me. That’s incredible, right?
“Who do you say I am?” Jesus asked that question of Peter. That is the question God has been asking me lately.
And He’s teaching me about himself.
God is love. He loves us more than we can ever understand, ever fathom, and ever deserve! His love is not based on conditions, qualifiers, or actions. We can never return His love equally. He doesn’t love us because of anything we’ve done or will do; He loves us because that’s who He is.
He confronts me with this truth when I feel drawn to see my relationship with him as a checklist. If I’m honest, there are times when I worry God will love me less if…
- my quiet time is shorter than usual.
- I didn’t respond to that opportunity to volunteer at church.
- I read the Bible on my phone instead of in print.
- I only prayed three days this week.
- fill in the blank with many other insecurities and weaknesses
My examples above are born from my own struggle against legalism, my own struggle to understand that I don’t have to get things “just right” to have a growing relationship with Jesus. His love for me doesn’t depend on my performance.
Either what God says is true or it isn’t. Either God loves us or He doesn’t. Let it resonate deep down in our hearts- What God says is true and He loves us! Period. No qualifiers. No conditional statements. He is not in Heaven with a clipboard checking off our progress before He loves and blesses us.
He loves us just the same in our sin…
If you gossip about a coworker, His love didn’t change for you.
If you just yelled at your kids, His love didn’t change for you.
If you steal from your company, His love didn’t change for you.
If you’re cheating on your husband, His love didn’t change for you.
He loves you the same!
Run to him with your sin, He wants to love you through it and forgive you.
But here’s the thing- God loves us too much to leave us where we are. He’s perfecting us. He’s moving us, correcting us, disciplining us, and refining us to make us more like Him.
When we get even a glimpse of God’s love for us, we are drawn to repentance.
When we see his sacrificial love, we are compelled to follow Him. As James MacDonald says, “God’s love is not a pampering love; it’s a perfecting love.” Even in His correction, God is love. He is not out to get us. He is always working for our good.