And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:5 (NKJV)
At one point or another we’ve likely all faced “love” that wasn’t quite what we were hoping for. “Love” that left us high and dry. Or broken. Or empty. “Love” that made us feel like we didn’t quite measure up. Like we needed to do better if we wanted to keep it. Like we needed to be worthy.
I’ve got good news, friends: that wasn’t love.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…
1 Corinthians 13:4-9 (NKJV)
So how do we heal all those old wounds and leave our misconceptions of love in the dust? We go to the source of all real love. The One who IS love.
A Love Expressed in the Word
The first place to start is the Word. I don’t know if we always realize this, but the greatest story ever told is actually one big, sappy love note to each and every one of us. Page after page, book after book, the way God sees things is revealed to us, and it all points to the plan He formed before the foundation of the world.
Being an omniscient and omnipresent being, God knows everything through all of time without the hindrance of chronology. He sees the end, the beginning, and everything in between all in one. And from the start, He loved us desperately and knew He would need to save us from the schemes of the dark one if He wanted an intimate relationship with us. And He did.
So much in fact, He would send Himself to accomplish what we couldn’t. He would become a man and walk in perfection like only He could to then become a sacrifice to end all sacrifices. Born to die (not just any death, but a horrific one) so that His creation would have a perfect, undeserved home with Him forever.
“…who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began…”
2 Timothy 1:9 (ESV, emphasis mine)
He created us just so He could love us. God is love. But what joy is there in that love without anywhere to put it? He created us specifically to be the recipients of that unearned love.
He took care when He dreamed you up. There is no doubt that you are lovable because that’s exactly what you were created to be.
A Love that isn’t Based on Our Performance
Maybe you’re thinking, yeah right! I’ve made way too many mistakes for God to want to be close to me. That’s another lie of the enemy. Everything God did was just so He could be close to you. His love comes freely, no strings attached. If we want a relationship with Him forever, all we have to do is accept. Mull over these verses:
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Romans 3:23-24 (NIV)
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 (NKJV)
“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”
Romans 11:6 (ESV)
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)
You’re not the only one who has made mistakes. If relationship with God was based on how “good” we are, none of us would make the cut. Every single one of us falls short of perfection.
But that’s why Jesus came! He didn’t come to die for a bunch of people who are righteous all on their own. He came to die for you and me because we aren’t perfect. We make mistakes. But when we accept the gift of what He did, it covers everything we’ve done so that we are right with God. This is the grace–the unmerited favor–given to us. If it was based on what we do, it wouldn’t be grace anymore.
A Love that Transforms and Empowers
Even better, He loves us at our worst, but He doesn’t leave us there. His loves is enough to help us out of it.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
1 Corinthians 15:10 (ESV, emphasis mine)
God’s unconditional love and undeserved favor toward you brings about change through His Spirit. This type of transformation never could occur from us just trying to be different.
Need evidence? I’m raising my hand! If ever there was a case for grace, it’s me.
In the interest of your time, I’ll save more about my story for another post. For now, just know that if you’re desperate to change and break free from the sin that grips you, there is no better way than to come to God and bask in the unconditional and unchanging love that He has for you uniquely.
For sin will have no dominion over you since you are not under law but under grace.
Romans 6:14 (ESV)
As I’ve stated in a previous post, you can tell how valuable something is by the price someone is willing to pay for it.
What does that say about you?
What does the cross say about your worth in the eyes of God?
What lies have you been told that steal the joy that comes from the truth of God’s unconditional love for you?
If you feel like you aren’t enough, like no one cares, or like you’re invisible, this is for you. If you doubt that you have a purpose, this is for you. If you feel or have ever felt abandoned, this is for you: You are loved. You are valued. You have worth. Right now. Exactly where you are. Without “being better” in your own strength.
Believe it. Accept the free gift God has given you in its fullness, and you will flourish like you’ve never imagined before. I promise.
Until next time,
New here? This page will help you get started!
Sharing is caring! Like this post from Planting Vineyards? Pass it along with the social media share buttons above and below.