We all know John 3:16. “God so loved the world”. But sometimes that abstract idea can just seem sort of generic, can’t it? Almost like you know your grandmother loves you simply because you belong to her.
You might even feel the same about God. You know on some level He loves you because…well… He’s God and that’s what He does. But do you ever wonder: Does God really love me?
For much of my life, I allowed myself to be wrapped in this idea that if anyone really knew me deep down inside, they wouldn’t love me. I hated Psalm 139 where the Psalmist asked God to search his heart and know him.
I didn’t want Him to know me. I thought He couldn’t possibly love me if He did.
Painfully aware of all the ways I’d failed Him and others, I convinced myself that He only loved me because He was obligated to do so.
But I would hear other people talk about the love of God and how it changed their lives, and I knew I was missing something. I didn’t feel that love.
Then I learned about grace. And it changed my life.
So I’m wondering. Do you ever ask yourself: Does God really love me? If so, let’s look at how we can have the assurance that He really does!
God Went to Great Depths to Show His Love
I remember when I was a teen in Sunday School, and my teacher would often talk about how he was never able to understand the love of God until he became a father himself.
I found that to be true when I had children myself. There is a love you have for your children that is like no other.
But I really understood God’s love even more when our youngest son unexpectedly passed away in 2010. The pain of losing a child was gut-wrenching.
Knowing how hard it was to give up a son when we had no control, I can’t possibly imagine asking our son to willingly die for someone else. And not only that, but to die for someone who hadn’t been good and had lived contrary to all that is right and holy.
That familiar verse I mentioned at the beginning – John 3:16?
For God SO loved the world that He gave His Son.
Jesus lived a perfect life. He made all the right choices. He kept His mind and His heart pure. He put others’ needs before His own. He did everything the Father asked Him to do.
We’re the ones who missed the mark. We’re the ones who owe our very breath to Him, and we still chose to go our own way and do our own thing. And we have lived under the burden of what we have done and what others have done to us.
Yet – He was the one who took our punishment. He was the one who paid the price for us to find forgiveness and healing and restoration. He was the one who, through His death, reconciled us back to God.
How could we ever find a greater love than this? That Someone would be willing to punish their Child, a Child who did everything right, with all the wrath that was deserved by each one of us.
This is love beyond comprehension:
God SO loved the world that He gave His Son.
♥♥Please stay to the end of the post and I’ll share how you can access a free printable of God’s declarations of love for you!♥♥
God Didn’t Wait for Us To Be Perfect to Love Us
Isn’t it wonderful that God doesn’t use our standards to love us? We often look at people and judge if they have certain qualities or share similar values or if they seem like us in order for us to care about them.
God doesn’t operate that way. One of my favorite verses lets us know this:
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
God didn’t wait for us to get our act together.
He’s still not waiting for us to be good enough or do enough to please Him.
This is how He shows His love – He sends His Son to a cross while we were still messed up. Not after we get ourselves cleaned up and made right. His Son’s death and resurrection is what makes you right and good and restored to Him!
And here’s the truth that made a difference for me: Even if you’re a believer but you feel like you’ve just failed too many times, God still continues to love you.
Why? Because His love is not dependent on our performance!
He understands our weaknesses. Hebrews 4:15 tells us He sympathizes with us. He is touched with feeling by our weaknesses – our lack of strength to do things great or to restrain ourselves from bad desires or even our inability to understand.
God is a way maker, and He determined even before the beginning of time that if He gave us the freedom to choose Him or reject Him, then He would also provide the way for us to be redeemed if we chose the later.
We’ve talked before about understanding grace here, but this is what it’s all about:
We don’t have to earn God’s love! He’s loved us all along!
And God just keeps on loving because that’s who He is. He’s not waiting for us to be perfect. He loves us because He wants to love us. And nothing will change that!
God Describes His Love For Us as Father, Husband, and Friend
God has gone to great depths for us to know His love and receive it. All throughout Scripture, He uses metaphors to help us better grasp what His love means for us.
♥He reveals Himself as a Father:
See what kind of love the Father has given us that we should be called children of God, and so we are. 1 John 3:1 ESV
The love a father has for his children goes to the greatest depths. He will go to any extreme to do what he can to help, encourage, support, affirm, and build up his children. God will do even more as our Father.
♥He reveals Himself as a Husband:
For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name. Isaiah 54:5 ESV
You shall be called “My Delight is in Her”…for the Lord delights in you…as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:4,5
One of the most beautiful things about our daughter’s wedding several years ago happened when she walked into the sanctuary at the beginning of the ceremony. After I had turned to look at her, I turned back to see her husband’s reaction. He was standing there with tears pouring down his face.
This is the love our God has for us. He sees us as His beautiful bride, and He is delighted. It’s really scandalous to think God could love us like this, but He does. He is the Lover of our souls.
♥He also reveals Himself as Friend:
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down His life for His friends. John 15:13 ESV
No longer do I call you servants; for the servant does not know what His master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:15 ESV
This is so amazing! Jesus call us His friends. We’re the reason He had to go to the cross and experience God’s wrath. Yet He has never held a grudge or looked on us with bitterness.
Instead, He is our closest companion. He wants to reveal all His secrets to us and is interested in every detail of our lives.
Just like a close friend, He wants to be with us all the time, and He never tires of hearing us talk to Him. He has much to tell us, too. He knows everything about us, and yet He still loves us.
If you have found yourself asking: “Does God really love me?”, I hope you’ll see just how much He really does. He gave up His Son for you. That sacrificial act enabled God to show you grace so you don’t ever have to earn His love again. And He loves you like a good Father, like a delighted Husband, and a precious Friend.
Thankful He loves me,
Have you ever wrestled with the question: Does God really love me? In the comments below, please share with us what you’ve learned. We’ll encourage each other! Thanks!
Here’s the free printable I mentioned earlier: God’s Love Declared in Scripture. Why not print it out and put it somewhere you’ll see it often to encourage your heart and build up your faith?
And here’s an excellent book about the love of God as Father. You’ll never see the parable of the prodigal the same way again!
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