Do you have any idea how incredibly precious you are to God?
Probably not. None of us do. But it’s true. If you could summarize the Bible into one sentence, it might be: God loves you.
Why do we have such a hard time accepting God’s love for us? Especially since He shows it to us over and over again. Why do we feel we aren’t worthy of His love? Maybe we’ve made some mistakes in our lives, big and small. Maybe we’ve committed terrible sins or lots of little ones. Maybe we have not done things we should have or not done our best at what we did do.
The list could go on.
It’s time to stop judging your worthiness of God’s love based on what you do. He loves you with all His heart no matter what you have done or not done. We say we want unconditional love. But do we really? It’s very hard to accept. We want to be worthy of such love. God’s love is absolutely unconditional and omni-conditional. It’s like the fresh air after a spring rain. It’s just there. And there’s enough for you and everyone else.
Why we think God doesn’t love us
Consciously or unconsciously we carry around old, worn-out versions of God, who loves or hates us depending on how good or bad we are. And we metaphorically imagine Him as an old bearded man standing on a cloud ready to hurl thunderbolts at us if we make the slightest mistake. We imagine He couldn’t possibly love us because of what we’ve done or left undone or done poorly. We think we have to earn God’s love.
That is not the way God’s love works. It’s like the rain, Jesus says, that falls on the just and the unjust equally.
If you go outside on a sunny day, will the sun stop shining because you just did something you shouldn’t have? Or if you go outside on a rainy day, will the rain stop because you didn’t do something you should have?
That’s how God’s love works. It doesn’t stop or go away because of anything you did or didn’t do. God’s love for you is not dependent on you or your actions. Neither you nor your deeds can turn God’s love on or off. You are not at the control panel. That would make you more powerful than God if you could regulate His actions. But that is not the way it works.
God loves the whole world
One of my favorite Bible verses as a kid, and one that is quoted zillions of times, is John 3:16.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
God didn’t love the world then or now because we are perfect little angels all the time. He loves us because we are His children. It’s as simple as that. There doesn’t have to be any other reason.
Now don’t get me wrong. When we do what is right in His eyes, it pleases Him immensely. But it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love us anyway.
God sent Jesus, among other things, to teach us what love actually is and how to live it and accept it in our lives. Remember when he told the scribes and Pharisees that he came to minister to those who needed help: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32 KJV)
Why did God send Jesus to save the sinners? Because. That’s it. Because. Because He loves all His children.
But why does God love us?
We want a reason for God to love us. We want Him to love us more when we do something right. And we have trouble accepting His love when we do something wrong. It takes a great big piece of humble pie, eaten one bite at a time, to accept God’s unconditional love. He loves you because that’s what He does. That’s His nature. He created you and just can’t help but love you. It would never occur to Him not to love you with all His heart.
Now, that doesn’t mean He loves everything you do. Far from it. But God will always love you.
Something my dad said to me when I was in my mid-twenties opened my eyes and my heart for the first time to understand just a smidgen of what unconditional love is all about.
Let me take you back to my third grade Christmas play at school. I was one of the toy soldiers all dressed up in a red jacket with a bold black banner across my chest. The other boys in the class, similarly dressed, and I marched across the stage to music from the Nutcracker. I noticed several of my friends did not do it just right. It was no big deal but I knew I had done a good job.
Afterwards, my dad said I was the best one there. I believed him. I beamed with his approval.
Years later, during junior high and high school, my dad would say the exact same words after an orchestra performance, “You were the best one there.” Ha! Twenty-third chair in the second violins or fourth chair viola was far from being the best and I knew it. Now his words seemed hollow and I could not accept this compliment because it seemed so ill-informed and flat out wrong.
Fast forward ten years. My dad and I were having a heart to heart conversation and I brought up these memories of how he had falsely judged me to be the best one in the orchestra. He could see the hurt it had caused my teenage emotions. But he simply replied, “But James, to me you were the best one there.” His simple comment opened my eyes to see how much he really did love me and that I was the best one there in his eyes, not because of how well I played the violin or viola. I was best in his eyes because I was his son. That was it.
I’m crying as I write this, realizing all over again how much my dad loved me.
This is just a hint at how much God loves me, and you, and everyone. It’s not what you do. It’s who you are.
God is singing for joy over you
I love this promise in Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.”
Think about that for more than just a minute. God is so delighted in you that He is singing for joy.
Referring to the Children of Israel in the Old Testament, the book of Deuteronomy puts it this way, “He [God] found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; He led him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.” (Deuteronomy 32:10 KJV)
To be the apple of the eye meant you were precious to someone. It’s like when you’re up close to someone and you can see your reflection in their eyes. It’s about a close and dear relationship.
We are closer to God than we realize. When we look at Him, we see ourselves reflected in His eyes. We are close to Him. It is a tender and loving relationship. Whatever you do or don’t do, God is always right there with you, loving you, cherishing you, gazing on you with unconditional affection, beaming with love, and singing for joy over you.
Our job is to simply accept this love and then let it fill us from top to bottom, spilling out into how we live our lives.
You are the apple of God’s eye. You are the reason He is singing for joy.
Blessings to you as always,
P.S. I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.