There is a lot of love going around this week. Normally in my prayer time I am focused on my love for God, but during a prayer last week I had a thought about God’s love and I couldn’t get it out of my head. Similar themes have come up in conversations since then, as well as in my readings. So I better share it with you all today:
There is nothing you can do to make God love you any more than He already does,
there is nothing you can do to make God love you any less.
God gave up His son so that those who believe may have eternal life. It’s already done: His love is first, it is absolute, it is already there. Regardless of the motivation behind our actions – good or bad – He loves us. We can’t work harder to earn more love from Him. When we sin, He doesn’t love us any less.
That’s a message I still struggle with at times – I know it’s true, but does it drive who I am? Does it drive how I see myself? Does it drive how I see others? Does it drive my actions? When I look at myself, do I see myself as God sees me? What is my confidence based on? I don’t know about you, but when I make a mistake, do something wrong, or just plain mess up; my mind begins to turn towards frustration with myself or with my performance. Then I think “God loves me so much that He sent His son to die for me, He isn’t going to love me less because of this – why would I love myself less?”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, are some of my actions an effort to win God’s love and approval? In my reading, this quote by Henri Nouwen really stood out to me, and is causing me to examine my motivations in prayer:
- “The great message that we have to carry, as ministers of God’s Word and followers of Jesus, is that God loves us not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created and redeemed us in love and has chosen us to proclaim that love as the true source of all human life.”
Years ago, I was in a depression. Part of what was going on in me was that I could not forgive myself. I thought that my relationship with God was permanently damaged. I knew that God loved me, but that knowledge was purely in my head, it had not penetrated my heart. I put my own conditions upon God’s love. I firmly believe that the only reason I got out of that depression was because I finally saw that God still loved me no matter what.
As you live out your ministry today, I pray that you know in your heart that God loves you. That you see people, including yourself, the way Jesus sees them. That when you look at your co-workers, your family, the people you meet on the street, the people in your church, and the person in the mirror, you see people whom Jesus loved so much that He willingly died for them.