Ladies, in this, the eleventh blog post in our series exploring our true identity, I want to remind YOU that you are unconditionally, unceasingly, fully loved by God!
You might hear these words and say, “Okay. Sure. Maybe. I guess.” But to really begin to walk in the assurance of this amazing gift, you have to FEEL His love.
Only when our comprehension of love encompasses both our intellect and emotions do we experience the security of belonging to God.
If you’ve had few people love you well, getting there might be hard. If your relationship with your own dad is difficult, for example, it might be really hard for you to accept that God’s love is unconditional. Or perhaps your relationship with your parents caused you to doubt God’s constant affection.
As a child, my mother would sometimes say to me, “God is so disappointed in you right now.” While I now recognize that she was attempting to manipulate my behavior in the way she thought best, her words did serious damage to the way I viewed God. I felt that pleasing Him was even more difficult than pleasing her.
I doubted God’s unconditional love far beyond my childhood. And I doubted it even more when years later my husband said, “I don’t love you anymore.” If the man who once prized me was now happy to discard me, how could the creator of the universe love me?
But let me assure you that God never, for a single second, stopped loving me. I love how Tim Keller puts it. In referencing Christ hanging on the cross, Keller says, “If He wouldn’t abandon you when hell itself was coming down on Him, and if that didn’t separate His love from us, you think your having a bad week is going to do it? If someone’s going to spend a billion dollars on your present, do you think he’s going to skimp on the wrapping paper? This is the love you’ve been looking for all your life.“
The Creator of the Universe Fully Loves Us!
How do we know that we are fully loved by God?
Because His Word tells us so.
My favorite verse that talks about the depth of God’s love is found in Psalm 103, verse 11: “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear Him.”
Because if we look for it, we see expressions of His love all around us.
Every time I see an act of kindness, I recognize that I’m seeing a brush of God’s love. With each glorious sunrise and sunset, I’m glimpsing God’s love. In every answered prayer — and even apparent unanswered ones — I’m viewing God’s love. With every new life, I imagine God saying, “I think you are so special, that I’m birthing you to be part of my plan for all creation.”
“You choose me?” I respond to God in amazement. “You know all about me, my weaknesses, my faithlessness, my lack of love at times, and you still want me as your child? It’s too good to be true, and yet you are God, so it is true!”
The more I sense God’s love by allowing it to grip my heart, the deeper my sense of belonging. As God meets my core need of being loved, I see myself differently. Nothing about me causes God to love you and me, He just does!
Why is Accepting God’s Unconditional Love so Tough?
Because we’re too familiar with the conditional love we receive from others. We’re used to having the expression “I love you” being attached to an “if” or “because.”
“What do you want in return?” is the question many of us ask God. But God’s love doesn’t come with strings. Yes, He desires our loving and obedient response to Him. But He loves us whether or not we fulfill that desire.
Some people try to earn God’s love. They declare, “I need to straighten out my life before You can accept me as I am.” But God’s response, every time, is, “I already accept you just the way you are. Don’t you see that I already proved this by sending my son to die for you to fully cover every one of your sins?” (Romans 5:8.)
Ladies, there are NO GROUNDS in Scripture for the argument that we must perform at a certain level before God can accepts us. Paul wrote, “It is by grace that you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9).
God always expects the best of us. Yet even when we fail, we do not jeopardize our acceptance with Him.
He allows the consequences of our mistakes to teach us, and He lovingly loving discipline when we sin. But He accepts us where we are and works with us and through us to promote our growth — even though He already knows we will fall short again and again.
We make mistakes. Occasionally, we run in the wrong direction. We stumble and fall and shrink from God in shame. But he comes to us and says, “Get up and keep going! You are fully loved!”
The choice is ours. Shall we continue to walk in the bondage of feeling we have to prove ourselves lovable? Or shall we simply accept that God’s promise of unconditional love can be counted on? So hard to do, sometimes. But ladies, it’s so worth it! As Priscilla Shirer says, God is patiently working through us for us to become the great women He has destined us to be. Yay! God loves us so much that we don’t have to do the hard job of changing ourselves! He loves us so much, that He’s chipping away at anything in us that doesn’t look like Jesus!
Our 12-Week Journey About Our True Personal Identity!
Part of rightly understanding our true personal identity requires that we know how God sees us. As our loving creator, God says two things to us: “You are my child,” and “You are chosen.” Do you sense God’s heart toward you? Can you wrap you mind around the truth that God was thinking about you before He even created the world?
Let that truth sink into the depth of your heart and mind. It may take a lot of determination on your part, but as you begin to realize just how valuable you are in God’s eyes, you will be able to break the chains that keep you from accepting and loving yourself. Ladies, we CAN drop the burden of what other people think—and the judgments we hold for ourselves!
During this 12-week blog series, we’ll post about personal identity. Each post will include a song to remind us of the truth of how God sees us. Our song this week is You Are Loved by Stars Go Dim. Stars Go Dim has it exactly right: YOU ARE FULLY LOVED! Accept this truth to experience the true joy of being YOU!
This blog series is based on Josh’s book See Yourself as God Sees You. It is our prayer that during this series you come to recognize and accept your true personal identity! God couldn’t love you more!