In your heart of hearts, do you believe that God loves you? Do you find it difficult to fathom that the God of the universe has positive thoughts toward you moment by moment, and every day?
If you do, you’re not alone. Many of us struggle with conceptualizing the enduring, sacrificial, infinite, and unconditional love of our heavenly Father. I think this is because we always try to put God’s love into our own human terms — and our terms always fall far short.
Our human relationships have conditioned us to measure love by “ifs,” “maybes,” and “becauses.” “I’ll love you if you do this.” Or, “I love you because you did that.”
Most of us struggle with even imagining that a love without some sort of condition even exists. Yet, God wants us not only to know that such a love exists, but also really believe it and receive it.
Below are several implications of God’s overwhelming love. As you read through these, ask God to confirm in your heart and mind that this is how he thinks and feels toward you:
- God’s thoughts, intentions, desires and plans are always for our good and never for our harm. (Jeremiah 29:11; James 1:17) The infinite being of the universe is for us, not against us. No matter how the immediate surroundings may look, God sees the big picture and has plans specially designed for our benefit.
- God is kind, open, approachable, frank, and eager to be our friend. (John 13:12-15) Although He’s majestic in holiness, God is eager to be our friend. He longs to hear everything that we’re going through and everything that’s going on. He wants to share His life and His heart with us.
- God emotionally identifies with our pain, joy, hopes and dreams and has chosen to allow our happiness to affect His own. The God of the Universe knows when we’re depressed and when we’ve lost a loved one. Our pain causes Him pain, and our joys give Him joy. And when there is tragedy in our lives, He weeps with us – just as Jesus wept with his friends when Lazarus died.
- God takes pleasure in us just for the unique people that we are, completely apart from our performance and accomplishments. (Psalm 139; Zeph. 3:17; Romans 5:8) Even if you and I had never done anything since we were born, God would take pleasure in us simply because of who we are.
In my own life, I’ve really struggled to believe and receive this truth. As someone who is a very type A, driven personality, I’ve been in times where the weight of the world was weighing me down so much that I didn’t experience God’s love so much. I assumed that God loved me only when I was performing and achieving.
My experience with thousands of Christians is that we all struggle to some degree with believing God loves us unconditionally. Many of us believe that we have to earn God’s favor. We think, “I read my Bible, so He loves me.” Or, “Things aren’t going so well, so it must be because I’m not doing it right.”
This passage in Zephaniah can help us overcome this faulty thinking: The Lord your God is with you; He is mighty to save and deliver. He will quiet you with His love and rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
In this passage, God tells a rebellious people that He actually stands over them singing and rejoicing, like a mother sings over her children to calm them down.
No matter where we’re at or how bad we may have blown it, the truth of God’s love is that the Creator of Creation is with us.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, His spirit dwells inside of us. And He wants to deliver us and quiet the stress of our heart with a love that’s not contingent on our performance.
Romans 5:8 also reminds us of this truth. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” In spite of our sinfulness, God demonstrated His love by sending Christ to die for us.
God’s love is unconditional, it’s free, and all we have to do to experience it is accept it, and rejoice in it. Let’s stop trying to earn God’s love and let ourselves experience it!
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip