Growing up I hated love… At least, what I considered to be love. As the oldest of five boys I couldn’t let the pack think that I was soft by saying a girl was pretty. “Romantic” Scenes in movies like Bambi made me queazy and warranted groans of disgust from five little guys unaware that there was such a thing as boys having a “feminine side.” Being “twitter-pated” by a girl was the worst insult you could be given. Girls deserved pine cones to the head, and insults of any form because they might want to flirt, and then you would become “twitter-pated.”
Then, it happened. All of a sudden I grew, and developed an interest in girls before I could do anything to stop it. I had lost my strength. With that, “twitter-pation” was no longer sinister but sought. Girls became friends and a crush or two developed. The older I got the deeper these relationships became until I found “the one.”
I was in love. I loved being in love. I loved being loved! Things didn’t work out (great story right?). I didn’t even get engaged and figured that kind of “love” wasn’t real: It is simply a spark that ignites a temporary flame leaving two people burned out once the honeymoon wears off, and then they must somehow survive together till they die. Sure, some people SEEM to be “in love” after years of marriage: I knew, though, that they were just good at faking it or got lucky.
I decided I would just have to wait until I could find someone who could live with me and with whom I could live without being constantly annoyed and aggravated. My focus was not on loving, although I had every intention to, it was on being loved. The big problem: I didn’t believe that anyone could love me. Why? Because I didn’t know what love is.
My relationship with God has, for the most part, always been the top priority in my life. Everything I do is to please Him. I wanted to make God love me. It was a tough job considering He is perfect, holy, just, omnipotent, omniscient, etc… I believed that Jesus died for my sins. I believed that I was saved by Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. To me it was simply a pity love motivating one act of kindness and the rest of God’s love had to be earned. I was hoping that one day I would be spiritual enough to earn God’s love. If I could just pray more, see more souls saved, preach better, read the Bible more, stop sinning, know more Theology, help more people grow, give more to missions, and become a great evangelist to point people to Jesus, MAYBE God would love me like He does my pastor, or other spiritual giants.
This is how I believed love worked with people as well. I felt I needed to earn everyone’s love around me. If I wasn’t funny enough, smart enough, cool enough, spiritual enough, athletic enough, nice enough, or good-looking enough, then I didn’t deserve any love. Yet, I didn’t treat other people this way. If people were nice I liked them and treated them with respect and would even go out of my way at times to show I cared. I tried to help people and never talk badly about them, but I could not be loved because I could never do enough to earn it. Even if someone told me they loved me, it couldn’t be true.
I guess one would think that this is a sad way to live, but I was ok. My life was not about me, it was about God. I was serving the greater good and fulfilling my purpose in life. I was ok, discouraged most of the time, but ok. My greatest disappointment was that I would never be good enough to earn God’s love. On a really good day, where I did lot’s of things for the Lord, I was happy. On a day where my life was less productive, or I struggled with sin, I was sad, discouraged, and burdened.
I still carry this weight sometimes because I do owe God so much for all He is and has done. It’s different though, because I quit trying to earn God’s love. I quit. I no longer try to be the most spiritual, prayer-oriented, holy Christian to make God love me.
I quit because Love cannot be earned. It can only be given. Love has nothing to do with circumstances, personality, ability, looks, or behaviors. Love cannot even be defined. It can only be shown. Love is a person you believe in and receive. Love is a person you emulate.
1 John 4:9-10 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Romans 5:6-9 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die:yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
God loved me before I was born. God loved me knowing that after I received Jesus I would still be a selfish, sinful, and sometimes straight up self-serving jerk. True love cannot be earned. It can only be shown. But why? Why would God love me this way? There was no reason He should and so I could not believe it!
I would not believe it; Until a dear friend showed me love. He listened to me and prayed with me. He felt my pains and sorrows. He did things for me that no one had ever done. It didn’t work for me to be told, I had to be shown and someone showed me that they loved me. Then, even though I was already saved, he showed me that God loved me by reminding me of the cross. I was reminded that Jesus knew what it was to feel rejected, lonely, and burdened. He knew physical pain and even rejection by the Father as He hung on the cross. I was told I was loved by God, but I knew this. As always, I countered that God had no reason to suffer so why would He love me after I killed Him by my selfishness? I must earn this love after salvation. God is holy, He hates sin, and He can’t love people who fail. He can’t just love me when I’m not perfect!
Yes He can. Yes He does. This is love.
1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
God is love… not God is loving, but GOD IS LOVE.
“Never was a more important declaration made than this; never was more meaning crowded into a few words than in this short sentence… Although we may not be able to reconcile all that occurs with this declaration, or see how the things which He has permitted to take place are consistent with it, yet in the exercise of faith on His own declarations we may find consolation in ‘believing’ that it is so, and may look forward to a period when all His universe shall see it to be so… amidst all the sorrows and disappointments of the present life, let us feel that our interests and our destiny are in the hands of the God of love.” (Albert Barnes)
Not just the God of love, but the God who IS love.
When this truth finally sunk in, I received the love of God for the first time. I had received salvation. I believed that Jesus was the only way to heaven, but that afternoon I received God in His fulness. I chose to believe in the God of the Bible. I chose to believe that GOD IS LOVE. No longer did I need to fear that He could never love me, for it is not possible that He could not! No longer was my acceptance in His eyes based on my righteousness, but on the truth that He showed me His loved through Jesus. I just chose to believe that God loves me, because it’s who He is.
I was sitting on a plane, looking out the window at the sunset, when I finally decided to just BELIEVE. Just accept it. Just revel in it. Just trust Him! He loves you! As I viewed the beauty of my favorite scene in nature I became overwhelmed and I cried. I wasn’t “twitter-pated.” God didn’t send me a million dollars in the mail. He didn’t save my life from a disease. He just loved me. He always had, and I finally believed it. Someone accepts me for who I am, and it is God! He likes me because He loves me.
Love is a person. His name is God. He sent His son Jesus to die for our sins and rise from the dead to be our redeemer so we can be close to Love Himself. He loves you. I have made Jesus the master of my life and I have never regretted it. If you have never received Love, follow the link: considerjesuschrist.org.
If you have been born again, believe that God loves you, and love Him back.
If there is sin in your life, get it right. If you’re holding a grudge, give it up. If there is one speck of your life that is being withheld from God give it back. He loves you no matter what, now its time to love Him back.
Most of all, love others. If you want a definition of what YOUR love should look like, read 1 Corinthians 13. As a Christian, if you don’t fit into 1 Corinthians 13, than you don’t know God. God is love.
Live for Christ. Love like Christ. Lead to Christ. God loves you. God is love.