There are three things the Bible tells us that God is; God is light, God is life and God is love. 1 John 4:8 states “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” To know the ways of God is to know the ways of Love. How do we begin to know the ways of Love?
We start with the fact that God loves you! 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.” Those of us who attended Sunday school or a vacation Bible school as kids learned this verse. We can recite it years later without problem. Even though we can recite it so easily, have we spent time thinking about what these words tell us? Have we let these words sink deep into our souls and hearts?
It almost seems hard to believe that God, the Creator, would love someone like me. We are plagued with insecurities, guilt and condemnation, and we think, “God couldn’t really love me.” We might think we know God loves us, but in reality, our lack of confidence in God’s love for us, limits how we respond to God. Do we really know in the very core of our being that God loves us? Actually, to rephrase the question, do you really know in your heart of hearts that God loves you? Are you conscious and aware of God’s love for you as you go throughout your day? Are you experiencing God’s love?
In the book of Ephesians, chapter 3, the Apostle Paul listed a number of things he prayed for the saints. Paul prayed that they would be rooted and grounded in love, that they would know the full dimension of God’s love and that they would know by experience the love of Christ. Why are these things so important?
If we are rooted and grounded in God’s love for us, we will not shrink away from God in fear and condemnation. The world throws enough stuff at us that we don’t measure up, that if we don’t have the “ideal” look then we are not lovable or acceptable, that we are not desirable, or redeemable. Even the church will say that we have no place in God because we are gay. If we are rooted and grounded in God’s love, we will grow and be able to show the love of God to the world around us, to those that would condemn and toss us aside.
Experiencing the love of Christ will open our hearts to God to bring healing. We all need healing to varying degrees from the junk that we have experienced in our lives. So many people are filled with insecurities, guilt, fear, sadness and are seriously affected by a poor self-image. God wants to love us into wholeness, where we will have God’s peace and joy in our lives on a daily basis.
Expressions of Love
1 John 4:9 tells us that the ultimate expression of God’s love for us was in sending Jesus Christ to die for us on the cross, in order that we will live through Christ. When we accept the death of Christ on the cross as our means of salvation, we enter into a relationship with God. We become God’s child and as any with parent, God wants to shower God’s love and affection on us. We are the apple of God’s eye. God longs to walk and talk with us throughout our day. God longs to be known by those that are God’s children. Start to look for things to happen that show God’s love to you during your day.
Ps. 86:17 “Show me a sign of [Your evident] goodwill and favor, that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame, because You, Lord, [will show Your approval of me when You] help and comfort me.” Amplified Bible
Pray that you will be conscious and aware of the love God has for you. Pray that God will show you signs of God’s goodwill and favor towards you. Then, keep a journal of the things God does to show you goodwill and favor. There will big things; there will small, maybe seemingly “insignificant” things that will happen, things that may only mean something to you. Write them down. Those are the signs of God’s love for you.
Raised in a Pentecostal/evangelical tradition, Michael Howard Garoutte of Wisconsin helped found a church and served as an assistant pastor before coming out in middle age while married with two children. He later found his life partner while the two of them were involved in an online conversion therapy ministry.