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You’re loved by God. I’m sure you know that. Or do you? We know the scriptures that tell us about God’s love for us (John 3:16, 1 Cor 13, 1 John 4:10) but do we believe it in our hearts? Do you believe that God loves you? Or do you struggle to accept His God’s love? Do walk in His love every day? Or do you sometimes feel like your failures cause Him to love you less?
As we leave the month of February, the month of love, I want to say a little bit about the topic. The month usually focuses on showing your love for others, but you can’t do that effectively if you don’t know how to receive God’s love.
For many of us, it’s hard to receive the love of our Heavenly Father, because we did not receive a good demonstration of love from our earthy father. Our love for ourselves and others begins when we allow God to demonstrate His love for us and allow ourselves to receive it. Signs that you’re not actively receiving God’s love might look like this:
- Working too hard to please Him. Your identity is wrapped up in your ministry work or even your career
- You feel like a failure when you make mistakes or are unable to overcome a particular stumbling block.
- You beat yourself up over past or present failures. You ask God for forgiveness but you don’t allow yourself to receive it so you don’t forgive yourself.
God’s love for us is unconditional. It’s not based on our successes or failures. Psalm 37 says His love endures forever. And it does. It’s eternal just like He is, so whether you fail or succeed His love remains the same. Loved is who you are. It’s part of your identity.
You don’t have to work for His love; it’s unconditional. When you fail, He’s there to help you. You can’t succeed in this life or your purpose without His help anyway. If you let Him, He will show you how to change.
Here are some ways to help you receive God’s love every day
- Be honest with Him. Feeling overwhelmed or frustrated is usually a sign that I’m working too hard please God. If you’re like me you might find it harder to pray at these times. You don’t need fancy words or eloquent prayers. Be honest with God about how you feel. Just spit it out. Cast your burden on Him and let Him take care of it.
- Find Scriptures that remind you of His love. I’ve already mentioned a few but here is a list of a few more that remind you of His perfect love. They don’t have to be the popular ones that you repeat in church. It can simply be a scripture that reminds you of a time when God showed His extraordinary love for you. My favorite scripture is Isaiah 41:10. It reminds me that I don’t have to fear or be discouraged. It always blows my mind that the Almighty God, who created the universe and all that is in it, is my God. He is always with me. And what’s more, He strengthens and upholds me with His righteous right hand.
- Personalize your favorite scriptures. Don’t just read your favorite scriptures on love. Make them personal. Instead of speaking about God, speak TO Him. Where you can, insert your name so that the scripture is speaking directly to you. Write them down or print them out and repeat them until you believe what they say.
- Truly receive His forgiveness. We mess up. We “miss” it. We break our promises to Him. But never changes the way He feels about us. When you mess up, ask for His forgiveness and KNOW that you are forgiven. Even if you stumble again, know that He won’t abandon you. His heart is always to help you become better so He’s always willing and able to help you get back up and try again. God removes our transgressions as far as the east is from the west and remembers them no more. You need to forget them as well.
- Spend more time with Him. Spending time with God helps you to recognize His voice so He can reveal His heart to you. You can do this with morning quiet time (or whatever time works for you) or by taking a walk; just enjoying nature and talking to Him. You can also find ways to express your gratitude to Him for something He has done. Some of my best times spent with God happen on my morning walks to the gym. And at the end of every day, I try to tell Him about something that I am grateful to Him for.
God chose us before the foundations of the world were formed and in love, He predestined us (Eph 1:4-5). Recently, during worship time, I imagined what this would look like. I saw God, about to create the world, and looking into the future with the realization that not everyone would receive His love. But He also saw the ones who would, and the amazing connection and relationship He would have with them. And it was worth it. You are loved and you are worth it.
Prayer: Father, I want to receive Your love. I want to feel Your love every day. Even though I know that You love me, it doesn’t always reach my heart and sometimes I forget. Help me to receive Your love each and every day.
Deborah Ruck @ As Bold As THE Lion blog