He first loved US

Many believers are told to make a purposeful decision to love God, and stick with it – no matter how they feel. This kind of message is not consistent with what we are told in 1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John 4:

“And so faith, hope, love abide [… love – true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Cor 13:13

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is (springs) from God; and he who loves [his fellowmen] is begotten (born) of God and is coming [progressively] to know and understand God [to perceive and recognize and get a better and clearer knowledge of Him]… In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins… We love Him, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:7,10,19

According to these verses we should first get an understanding of the love that God has for us. Only then will we be able to love Him and those around us.

Love for God and our fellowmen will grow (naturally and effortlessly) from understanding God’s love for us. True love will only spring forth from our hearts if we get to know the true, overwhelmingly good character of God . The focus of the church should always be on how much God first loved us.

Once you understand this, love will flow effortlessly from your inner man.

The unconditional love of God

I want to share something amazing with you. God loves you, and He is definitely not angry with you. We might hear this many times – but listen to this as if it is the first time you are hearing it.

“In this the love of God was made manifest (displayed) where we are concerned: in that God sent His Son, the only begotten or unique [Son], into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10

Through this verse it becomes clear that there is one thing that is even more important than our love for God: His love for US! He has so much compassion on us – we will never be able to comprehend the depths of His love and endearment towards us. Another verse that confirms this:

“…as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I will not be angry with you or rebuke you. For though the mountains should depart and the hills be shaken or removed, yet My love and kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace and completeness be removed, says the Lord, Who has compassion on you.” Is 54:9-10

God’s love is unconditional. He loves all the world like He loves His son Jesus. This is what God said about Jesus: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17). Because you are in Christ, you must hear these words as if they are spoken directly to you. God is well pleased with you!

We need to realize how much God loves us – focus on this today and it will change your life.

Protective of His home

I cringe when I hear people blaming sickness and disease on God. In a previous post I spoke about God’s love being better than an earthly father’s love. What earthly father would give His child cancer, or some incurable disease? I want to add to this by quoting the following verse:

“Do you not discern and understand that you [the whole church at Corinth] are God’s temple (His sanctuary), and that God’s Spirit has His permanent dwelling in you [to be at home in you, collectively as a church and also individually]? If anyone does hurt to God’s temple or corrupts it [with false doctrines] or destroys it, God will do hurt to him and bring him to the corruption of death and destroy him. For the temple of God is holy (sacred to Him) and that [temple] you [the believing church and its individual believers] are.” 1 Cor 3:16-17

This verse clearly states that we are God’s temple, and that His Spirit dwells in us. Now, what logic is there in sending sickness to overtake and destroy your own temple, if it is sacred to you? This verse goes as far as to say that God will destroy the man who touches or hurts God’s temple. That means He is so protective of us (His dwelling place), that He will avenge any evil or harm done to us. God does not have a split personality, so why would He be so fiercely protective of our bodies (His temple) on the one hand, and then send disease and sickness to hurt it on the other hand? It makes no sense – and it also does not line up with the goodness of His character that He reveals to us in Jesus.

Do not be mislead – sickness does not come from God, but from sin. Please see this post for more information.

God is a solid foundation

The best thing Christians can do is to become more and more acquainted with the amazing character and perfect love of God. Experiencing the goodness of His character will lead the world to repentance (Rom 2:7) and living in a relationship with Him will change them from the inside out. This is the foundation on which our faith will be built.

“So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts upon them [obeying them] will be like a sensible (prudent, practical, wise) man who built his house upon the rock. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a stupid (foolish) man who built his house upon the sand. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell–and great and complete was the fall of it.” Matt 7:24-27

Just a little earlier on in the chapter Jesus compared the goodness of God to an earthly father who knows how to give good gifts to his children (i.e. His character). In verse 23 He highlighted the importance of not just doing things for God, but actually KNOWING Him (i.e. understanding His character, living in a relationship with Him). This is the foundation on which we can confidently stand. No matter how your circumstances may change, or what you face in life – the Rock stays put. Nothing can change that, and nothing can change His character.

“My God, my Rock, in Him will I take refuge; my Shield and the Horn of my salvation; my Stronghold and my Refuge, my Savior–You save me from violence.” 2 Sam 22:3

Don’t let circumstances affect your image of God, let your understanding of God’s character affect your circumstances!

Consider your worth

As humans with many flaws we are quick to underestimate our value and worth. God wants us to understand how valuable we are in His eyes, because this will convince us of His love and provision in our lives. The first verse I want to quote:

“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?” Matt 6:26

We are worth much more than the birds in the air. Yet we foolishly think God would take care of them but not of us! We need not worry about anything, for He cares for us. The second verse I want to quote:

“Again the kingdom of heaven is like a man who is a dealer in search of fine and precious pearls, Who, on finding a single pearl of great price, went and sold all he had and bought it.” Matt 13:45-46

We are that pearl of great price. God offered everything He had – His only Son, in order to save us and buy our redemption. He placed such high value on our lives that He did not even spare His only son (Rom 8:32).  Christ purchased our freedom (Gal 3:13). Another verse comes to mind explaining our worth:

“You shall also be [so beautiful and prosperous as to be thought of as] a crown of glory and honor in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem [exceedingly beautiful] in the hand of your God.” Is 62:3

Never underestimate your worth. Realize what a costly price God paid in order to restore us to Himself. Boldly approach His throne of grace, realizing you are a precious pearl of great worth to Him!