Home > Christian Living > God Loves Me

If I could give just one gift to the world, it wouldn’t be fame, fortune, or other earthly things this world values or looks to for meaning and happiness. There’s nothing I know of that is more critical to your ability to face the storms of life, to living a life of peace and joy, to living a victorious life in Christ, or for you to be able to love others, than how you view God’s love for you. Your ability to fully embrace God’s way, God’s will, and God’s wisdom is in direct proportion to how much you are able to rest in the loving arms of God and to know you are unconditionally loved by Him.  This is why the Apostle Paul prayed this prayer in Ephesians chapter 3.

“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

After being in ministry for 46 years and pastoring 27 of those years, I’ve come to the conclusion that the reality is that most people and yes, that includes Christians, don’t really believe that God unconditionally loves them. Many, if not most, reduce God’s love to a human kind of love that is often tied to conditions and one’s performance.

Have you heard of the Sunday School song, “Jesus Loves Me”?

Jesus loves me this I know,

For the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to Him belong.

They are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

The Bible tells me so.

This precious song suggests that a mere head knowledge of the Bible is enough to convince all of us that God loves us, regardless of how big of a mess we create. I wish it was truly that easy to accept and understand the measure of God’s love by simply believing because the Bible tells me so.

Here’s a more accurate version of the song that plays over and over again in the hearts and minds of many who grace our cathedrals and adorn our sanctuaries.

Jesus loves me this I hope.

For He knows my life’s a joke.

Little ones to Him belong.

But I’m weak and my life’s all wrong.

I hope Jesus loves me.

I hope Jesus loves me.

I hope Jesus loves me. 

My conscience tells me NO.

How can God love me when I’m a total mess, when I don’t even love myself, when the ones I love and have hurt have given up on me, and I’ve given up on me as well?

What is it that causes people to doubt God’s love for them? There isn’t a simple answer, but I can try to sum it up in three little words, which are the very words we must convince ourselves of- God Loves Me.

First of all, I struggle with God. My distorted perception of God creates a barrier that hinders me from embracing His love. I struggle with His will and way which I often don’t understand. God is so big we can’t contain Him in a theological barrel. The Apostle Paul states it this way in Romans 11:33. “Oh, what a wonderful God we have! How great are his wisdom and knowledge and riches! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his methods!”  I don’t know a single Christian who hasn’t at times struggled to know God’s ways; if they’re being honest, that is. Job struggled with God’s ways.  Even Jesus struggled with His Father’s will when He asked the why question on the cross.  “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?

I pastored people who didn’t celebrate Father’s Day because their father was absent, abusive, and punitive.  I had the privilege of having a wonderful father, yet there were times in my life when I questioned his love because of the severity of his punishment when he was angry. Some superimpose their feelings about their natural father upon God their Heavenly Father.  Is God more like the austere, almighty One as revealed in the Old Testament where His judgment wiped out nations or more like the Father in Luke 15 who welcomes the prodigal home and celebrates his homecoming with a party?

Second, I struggle with Love. The barrier that hinders me and you from embracing God’s divine love is our perception of love.  The word love is so overused it has lost its meaning.  We love pets, we love ice cream, we love the beach, we love… More than I want to admit my old nature tied to my frail humanity struggles with God’s unconditional love since my human love is often tied to conditions.

God’s love is perfect and pure; human love is imperfect and filled with impure motives. God’s love is always unconditional without limits; human love is often conditional and bound by limits.  God’s love is based on His supernatural affection; human love is often based on natural attraction. God’s love is based on His divine favor; human love is often tied to feelings.

Finally, I struggle with ME. The barrier that hinders me from embracing God’s love is quite simply, ME.  The two great commandments on which hang the entire Law of God are tied to my love for Him and also my love for you, my neighbor.  But, I have one big problem; I must love you as I love myself, and there are times I don’t like or love me. I’m my own worst enemy because more than I want to admit, Paul’s Romans 7 description of me is too often true.  Take a few moments and read verses 15-25.  The gist of the passage is I know what I should do, how I should love God and others and live a life worthy of my Savior.  The problem is I do things out of my sinful nature even though I want to do right.  It’s confusing.  And hard.  There’s a war waging in me, and many times I lose.

So what is the answer to breaking the barriers to believing God loves me? Again, there’s no simple answer, but it starts with embracing Paul’s words in verse 25 of the passage I mentioned above.  “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” We can also look at the truth found in Romans 8:1. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”  In two words, the answer is God’s grace. Once we accept Christ, we are then in a spiritual position to address the pain in our past or present.  Being healed from the inside-out enables us to see ourselves as lovable and valuable. God’s love is no longer simply an intellectual, theological doctrine because we have experienced His love through His healing grace.

Now you can sing the words to “Jesus Loves Me” with certainty, knowing that He truly does.

3 Comments, RSS

  • Michael Solosky

    says on:
    January 10, 2018 at 9:35 am

    Pastor Mark,

    Thanks for the reminder that I am not the only one who struggles with this. You are a blessing to me and to many others because of your brutal honesty.

    Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

  • Randy Vandemark

    says on:
    January 10, 2018 at 10:20 am

    Pastor Mark,

    Needed this today…well, I guess everyday! Thanks for sharing your own perspective and heart. It ALWAYS helps me to encounter and evaluate my own thinking and emotions. YES! Jesus loves me!

  • Geneva Chervenic

    says on:
    January 10, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    Amen Brother Mark,
    Heavenly Father help us as a Nation to fall madly in love with you in 2018 for without your love we can do nothing! Help us to return to our first love and pour your Agape Love into our Hearts for a lost and dying world.
    Matthew 22:36-40
    Love in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, because of Calvary
    geneva
    http://www.asblc.com