On Sunday morning I was preaching on the following passage: “I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts… I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy” (2 Corinthians 7:3-4).
I made the point that not only did Paul feel this way about the Corinthians, but in fact, this is the way that God feels about all of His children. I then said that God calls us to obedience not because He is a slave-driver but because He loves us. He truly wants the best for our lives. Therefore, He calls us to obedience.
Still, our motivation to obey God needs to flow from the knowledge that we are loved perfectly by a perfect God. We don’t realize just how much God loves us, and if we don’t really believe that we are loved by God then we will hold back pieces of our hearts from Him. We will not truly trust Him with everything in our lives.
The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
Because at our root we don’t see or believe that God loves us as much as the Bible tells us He does, then we will naturally not surrender everything to Him. At the core of our lives many believe that God is really “out to get us”– that if we trust him through tithing, or staying in a hard marriage, or witnessing to our neighbor, or confessing some deep, dark secret to someone He really won’t come through for us. We can think that at the moment of our greatest need, when we try to obey Him, He will pull the chair out from under us & let us fall.
Many Christians believe that God merely tolerates us—that He doesn’t really love us. Yet, probably the MOST famous verse in the Bible (John 3:16) tells us, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
This certainly does not sound like God merely tolerates us. He allowed His Son to be killed to vindicate His justice against sin so that He could freely love us, bless us, and save us.
In all honesty, sometimes we can’t feel God’s love because we don’t really think we are loveable. A friend of mine made the following statement: “A good rule for those us who are prone to self-hate: Be as compassionate to yourself as you are to those you love.”
If you feel that God just tolerates you but doesn’t really love you I have a challenge for you. Ask God to show you evidences of His personal love for you. Just pray, “God, will you show me how much you really love me in a way that I can know is from you?” Then, after you have asked Him to show you, be on the lookout for His answer. Don’t be so short-tempered. You may have to wait a while before He actually shows you something. His answers may come in very obvious, loud ways, or they may come as something very subtle.
Regardless, if He does make something clear to you, journal the evidences that He gives to you, or tell someone else about it. Finally, praise God for His answers to prayer.
I’m praying that God will blow your mind with His love for you this week!