Understanding the love of God may be the single most important concept we could ever grasp. Yet at the same time, I know I'll never grasp it.
My personality is very logic-based, self-motivated, and hard-working (if I consider something worth working for...). I am comfortable with well-justified rules, I like taking things literally, and I generally act based on what I've decided makes the most sense. Not too surprisingly, the love and grace of God is something I have to reconsider and re-learn and re-apply every single day. But I'm learning lately just how crucial it is to do so.
People, human beings, are flawed. We all know that; it's everywhere. People will never be able to love us perfectly and 100% faithfully. My parents come pretty close... but they are just human like me too. When I come to God, I find myself naturally evaluating Him like another person, wondering how He feels toward me today. Not that I ever think He will stop loving me or give up on me, but I'm still learning what it means to really believe that God's love for me through Christ never changes. Never.
I was a sinner from the beginning. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8) If I was a sinner when Christ died to save me, then I must realize that nothing I do now can cause Him to somehow stop loving me. He loved me at my worst just as much as He does now. I only know how to love Him ever so weakly because He first loved me. Yes, there can be times when He is disappointed, and even angry - like a parent who is passionate for the good of their child. But He never stops loving.
When we learn to rest in the absolutely unconditional (stop to think about that word if you haven't lately) love of Jesus for us, we become free to pursue Him with our love. We have no fear, for "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." (1 John 4:18) We have a significantly more accurate perspective of who God is because our focus has been transferred from our attempts to earn His love to His love freely given. We are free to try to serve Him in everything, knowing that when we fail, He still smiles on us.
I don't know about you, but really believing all that can be hard for me. So I have to remind myself over and over and over that even though it's crazy, even though I don't know why, God loves me. He proved it with blood. And He wants us to remember it every single moment so that we can live in freedom. Indeed, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." (Gal. 5:1) So remember Scriptures like these:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written , For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
For I am persuaded , that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 John 4:10
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
I learned from a Beth Moore Bible study I'm currently studying to use a little phrase that puts into perspective just how much God loved me first. Instead of telling Him, "I love You," I can say to Him, "I love You too."
Thank you God for Your unparalleled, unequaled, incomprehensible love.
I love You too.