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Beloved?

September 7, 2019

 

     The Christian faith is all about love. It's been called the "world's great love religion." The most basic principle of Christian teaching is that the Incarnation of Jesus, his becoming human, happened because of God's love for us. Our kids' songs proclaim it: "Jesus loves me, this I know...."  If

     Yet I know a woman who after more than two decades of following Christ was still struggling with this most primary teaching, to the point that she found it difficult to tell the preschoolers in her Sunday School class that Jesus loved them. She knew the teaching, but she realized that she wasn't experiencing God's love in her daily life. Whenever she talked about how much God loved them, she felt she was being false, maybe even lying by telling them something she wasn't sure she believed. 

     Why is it so hard to experience God's love, even if we acknowledge in our heads that it is true? Most likely it has to do with how you feel God sees you. If you believe God sees you in a negative light, this will certainly be reflected in your spiritual life. If you suspect that God is preoccupied with your sin, you'll probably try to hide from him, covering yourself up so he won't see who you really are. You may respond to him by working harder to earn his approval. You probably fear that no matter what you do, it won't be enough. 

     If your god's response to you depends on who you are or something you do, this god is a very small god, indeed. The Christian God is defined by his inherent character, and his character is love. God's love does not depend on human actions at all. Rather, it stems out of who he is.

     When you sin, God doesn't turn away from you. He turns toward you, in love. When it became clear that humans couldn't escape sin on their own, God sent his Son to redeem us. God's primary manner towards the people he created is love. The first thing that comes to mind when God thinks of you is how much he loves you.

     God loves you, just the way you are. He loves you extravagantly. He loves you deeply. There is no question of his love for you, because scripture tells us clearly about God's love for us. Good behavior doesn't increase God's love for you. Bad behavior doesn't decrease it.  

     Imagine that God is thinking about you. What comes to his mind, when he thinks of you? Now  imagine God thinking about you in love. Imagine his love wrapped around you like a blanket, wrapping and holding every square inch of your body. Listen with your imagination as he calls you his Beloved.

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