Accepting that we are deeply loved by God is the beginning of being released from our fears and enables us to become great lovers of God and others. Love is the foundation of connection that invites surrender and intimacy. Love is a welcoming place where we truly belong and the assurance that we have found that place.
God is the God of love and His love pervades every aspect of His love for us. Our God does not turn away from us sinners in disgust BUT moves toward us with His redemptive presence. God knows we are sinners; that does not reduce His love for us. Nothing in Scripture illustrates better God’s love for us than the prodigal father (Luke 15:21-24). He does not look at His son through the eyes of sin but through the eyes of love. All of our fears about God sending us away melt away as we see the Father running to embrace us.
Jesus came for that very reason to lead us back to Love. He came to play the star role in the world’s greatest love story. He is God’s Son sent to die for our sins to show us the love that is our destiny and fulfillment. He came to reveal the Perfect Love for whom we long and belong.
Many of us know our sins are forgiven. Some will speak of answers to prayer with a sense of the presence of God. There are many Christians who will talk about a relationship with God and will not have much to say about how they actually experience God in that relationship. A. W. Tozer says in his book, The Divine Conquest, that a good number of people who view themselves as Christians do that on the basis of belief more than experience. He argues that people have, “substituted theological ideas for an arresting encounter; we are full of religious notions but our great weakness is that for our hearts there is no one there.” He goes on to say that, “Knowledge by acquaintance is always better than mere knowledge by description.”
A real genuine knowing of God involves much more than mere head knowledge; it must be a relationship that involves the heart.
A significant part of Christian growth is to experience God’s love personally, not simply know about it. The fact that we are deeply loved by God needs to be a core part of our identities. Encountering God in love is as important to Christians who live in their head knowledge, as for those who live in their emotions. Both will find it important to ground their identity in experientially knowing that they are deeply loved by God.
We will all face challenges on this journey. Those who live only in thoughts and rational analysis will need to learn how to embrace their feelings. Feelings will bring new data that is missing when only thoughts are trusted. A genuine meeting of God in love, and not only in thoughts, will be deeply growth- producing. On the other hand, people who live in close contact with their emotions will need to learn to embrace critical thinking, so that feelings can be judged, and reality more firmly embraced.
David Benner, in his book Surrender to Love, says, “Genuinely meeting God in love offers an opportunity to move beyond sentimentalism and emotionalism. It offers a chance to truly encounter love, to critically reflect on the meaning of that love and to ground oneself in it.”
We all long for a deeper encounter with God. We all need our identity to be deeply grounded in God’s love. Developing a love relationship with the invisible God is not simple, easy, or automatic.
Does it seem hard for you to believe you are deeply loved by God? Would you find it hard to believe that if Jesus walked into the room you are in right now, He would move toward you, embrace you, and say, “I love you?”
If your identity does not firmly rest in knowing yourself to be deeply loved by God, spend some time meditating on Psalm 23, Psalm 91 or Isaiah 43:1-4. Meditation is not analyzing or simply thinking about the passage; it is letting yourself soak in it, and hearing the words as a love letter spoken to you. Let the words soak into you and settle into your heart. I pray that the love God has for you becomes a deep part of your identity.