God is love, and he loves and rejoices over you. There is a reason why so many people in this cruel and calloused world are unloving and unkind: they lack knowing that God loves them. If we do not believe or know that God infinitely loves us, then our words and our actions will reflect more of hate than love. God really truly does love you and me. This is crucial. Do not forget this. Believe it. Live it. Enjoy it. Know it. Tell it to yourselves until you are thoroughly bathed in it because it is more wonderful than any 70’s sappy love song could ever describe it.
There is a verse tucked away in the small book of Solomon’s Song of Songs. It is an ode to love. The verse, Song of Solomon 7:10 says, “I am my Beloved’s, and his desire is for me.” Far too often we think of God’s love in some abstract, distant, detached way. But the truth is that we belong to God and his desire is for you and me. God has an intense and overpowering longing for you. I encourage you to pray that verse every day this week, multiple times in the day. Let the deep desire of God for you shape and form your thoughts so that fear is replaced with faith; loneliness with enjoyment; the fickle nature of others with satisfaction; praying as duty with praying because I want to be with the God who loves me so much.
Oh, how we need a vision of God singing over us with joy! Yes, God loves you that much! Grab a hold of this verse: Zephaniah 3:17 – “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Even the most unlovely of people are made lovely through God’s persistent and pursuing love for them. You are being seen every single day by the infinite gaze and eternal compassion of God, who watches our every step with delight.
Christianity does not “happen” simply by knowing some belief statements about him; rather, Christianity “happens” when individuals experience the white hot burning love of God in Jesus Christ. Jesus came not only for those who skip church and only occasionally read their Bibles, but also came for the hard-hearted prick, the immoral adulterer, the strung-out addict, the terrorist, the murderer, and for all those caught up in bad choices and failed relationships. “I have not come to call the self-righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matthew 9:13). “Go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). “You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34-35). All of Christ’s words and actions are because of God’s intense desire to love the world, and to love it through his church.
God’s love is never based on our performance, or how good we look to others; it is never conditioned by our moods. The love of God only looks longingly at you and me with the potential of what we can become in Christ and cares for us as we are. It is a world-altering revolutionary thought that God loves me as I am and not as I should be. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Despite the inroads of atheism in our Western world, the vast majority of people still believe that God exists. Conversely, however, the majority of people do not believe that God really loves them. We are in a crisis of love. People need to know the God who is Love. Christianity never begins with what we do for God to make ourselves lovely for him. No! Christianity always starts with what God has done for us, the great and wonderful love that exists for us in Christ Jesus.
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:4). All the wrong turns in the past, the mistakes and the moral lapses, everything that is ugly or painful all melts in the light of God’s acceptance and love for us.
If the consuming passion of church ministry and followers of Christ is not showing God’s love, then we have lost both our mission and our first love of Jesus. Perhaps we must let time evaporate as we bow at the foot of the cross and experientially know the great love of God in Christ for us and for the world.