Henry Blackaby, in his book “Experiencing God,” said that whenever he questioned whether God loved him, Holy Spirit would remind him of Jesus’ humiliating, unjust, and agonizing death on the cross. In Mark Batterson’s book, ”The Circle Maker,” he points out that if God wanted more servants He would have created more angels. God wanted friends and family when He created human beings. Jesus reminds us of this as recorded in John 15:15, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my father I have made known to you. (ESV)
I invite you to think about how much God loves you, the lengths He went to reconcile you to Himself, and how much He desires a close, personal relationship with you. No one will ever love you more than God does – not your mom and dad, not your wife or husband, not your kids or grandkids or nieces and nephews, not your BFF, not your favorite aunt, uncle, cousin, or grandparent.
God is perfect love. This perfect love is described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:
God’s love is patient and kind; His love does not envy or boast, it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. His love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. His love never ends.
Everything that God does is motivated by His Perfect Love. Out of Love:
- He created the universe
- He went to the cross
- He gave us the gift of Holy Spirit
- He saved us and reconciled us to Himself
- He forgives and forgets our sin when we repent
- He works to conform us to the image of His Son
- He seeks and saves the lost
- He restores what the enemy has stolen
- He rebuilds what the enemy has destroyed
- He resurrects what the enemy has killed
- He will create a new heaven and earth
- He will resurrect us from death and transform our bodies
- He will give us eternal life in His Presence
God could have given up on humanity after we disobeyed His commands in the Garden of Eden. He could have created new beings without free will and freedom of choice. He could have destroyed all living creatures, including human beings, during the great flood. Instead of starting over, God decided to reclaim, at great cost to Himself, what had been lost due to our sin. He continued to love us in our fallen state, while we were still rebelling against His Authority and Perfect Will. “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5: 8 NLT) “God showed how much He loved us by sending His One and Only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. (1 John 4: 9-10 NLT)
Consider that what God enjoys most is being with you. He values an intimate, personal relationship with you so much that He paid the penalty for your sin with the sacrifice of His beloved Son. It cost God everything to restore relationship with human beings like you and me, who are the pinnacle of His creation. God wants to be with us. He cares about every aspect of our lives on earth. He gave the gift of Holy Spirit to us as a deposit, a down payment, and an advance on our eternal inheritance. He united His Spirit with our spirit so we could have access to Him anytime and anywhere. His presence is always with us. He watches out for us and makes all things work together for our good, our growth, our gain, and His glory. He is aware of our thoughts and feelings and is interested in everything – great issue or small detail – that concerns us. He listens carefully to our prayers, is delighted with our praise, reveals Himself through His Word, renews our minds with Truth, enjoys our fellowship, and is pleased with our trust, obedience, and dependence. He is gratified when we turn to him for help in solving our problems, meeting our needs, and overcoming our challenges. He loves to give us the oil of gladness in our sorrow and beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3), His Strength in our weakness, His Wisdom and Understanding in our doubt and confusion, His Peace in our turmoil, His Hope in our despair, and His Abundance in our scarcity.
Because of past traumatic experiences with people I loved and depended on, I have consistently had a problem trusting God and fully experiencing His love. 1 John 4:18 (AMP) provided understanding about my fear. Here is what God has to say about the matter: “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full grown) love drives out fear because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].
God declares that His Perfect love casts out (drives out, eliminates) fear. This truth helped me become aware that my trust issues were rooted in lies I believed about love. One lie is that I was unworthy and undeserving of God’s perfect love. God reassured me that His Love is unconditional, not performance-based. God loves me because of WHO HE IS, not because of what I have done or not done. Love is an integral part of His nature. The second lie, related to the first, is that I must be perfect for someone to love me. I was afraid that God would punish me for making a mistake or bad decision, disobeying Him, or somehow disappointing Him or letting Him down. I was afraid He would withdraw His approval, withhold His affection, and always remind me of my shortcomings. This idea again, is based on the lie that love is something I must earn or deserve. The truth is God loves extravagantly, unconditionally, and steadfastly because HE IS LOVE. Love isn’t just something He gives or just something He feels. Love is who God is – His very essence.
The chorus of the song “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury says it perfectly:
“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights till I’m found, leaves the 99
And I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it
Still You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God”