“Take your human feelings, multiply them exponentially into infinity, and you will have a hint of the love of God revealed by and in Jesus Christ. With a strong affirmation of our goodness and a gentle understanding of our weakness, God is loving us – you and me – this very moment, just as we are and not as we should be. There is nothing any of us can do to increase his love for us and nothing we can do to diminish it” (Brennan Manning).
Tonight at Kairos, I got a much-needed reminder about the unconditional love of God for me.
It’s easy for me (and I’m sure you as well) to get caught up in the trap of a performance-based view of love and then transfer it to God. It goes like this:
If I live right, God will love me more.
If I read my Bible more, God will love me more.
If I tithe more, attend church services more, treat people better, and so on and on. . . .
The truth is that if I never read my Bible one more time, God’s love for me would remain undiminished (thanks to Michael Boggs for that gem of a reminder).
The truth is that the nature of God as love means that He cannot love any less than perfectly anymore than He can be anything less than 100% holy or 100% righteous. So He is 100% loving toward you and me.
The catch is that He chooses to love me when He doesn’t have to. He chooses to love you simply because it is His pleasure and His delight. It’s nothing that you and I bring to the table or anything about us that makes us lovable. Only the love of God in us and for us can make us lovable.
A dangerous prayer to pray (that may not seem dangerous) is to ask God to show you just how much He loves you. Your mind won’t be able to contain the answer. After all, it is beyond human comprehension or understanding.
As always, let that love be what defines you, not what your friends say or think, what your annual job performance review tells you, what your level of success and influence tells you, or anything like that. You are not defined by marital status, career, finances, popularity, or even religious standing.
Only God’s love has the power to define (or redefine) you, heal you, save you, and transform you into something worth loving.
Oh, and one more thing. I’m not loved this much to hoard it all. I’m loved so that I can receive it and turn around and love those around me the same way. In fact, the true measure of how I’ve really received the love of God is how well I share it with those around me who need it most but deserve it least.
Just think about that for a while and see if it doesn’t blow your mind.