The truth of God’s love is irrefutable. Yet, why do you and I still spend so many minutes, hours, and days settling into lovelessness? Souls aching to be enveloped in strong, warm, tender embraces; not just hearing, but to knowing, in the innermost places, ‘I’ve got you and I won’t let go’ – from God.
Instead, we feel naked and lonely, tired shoulders pressed into the biting wind and asking, ‘Where is the love?’
We know the truth – that God has always loved His creation; He walked with it in perfect relationship before the fall and He consistently cared for it after.
That Jesus, in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwells, is love personified and exemplified, and ‘God so loved the world’ and ‘God loved us and sent His son.’
This is all utterly true.
But, do the unloved feelings still linger?
May I share another truth that God has been weaving into the fabric of my understanding of His love?
The truth is we’ve been loved by God before we could even say ‘I love You’ back to Him. The truth is these unloved feelings are not a reflection of God’s attitude toward us (though I have a tendency to send the blame that direction), instead they are a reflection of my attitude toward Him. They are a reflection of my direction – the way I am walking.
You and I have a role to play in our experience of God’s love.
It’s called abiding.
One definition of abide is to continue in a particular condition, attitude, or relationship.
Jesus says it another way: “Just as my Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” John 15:9-10 NASB
So how do we abide in His love?
By continuing to walk in His ways instead of our own.
The same way Jesus abides in the Father’s love: obedience.
One key component of experiencing God’s love and abundant life here and now, is the way we chose to walk. The whole of Scripture is an invitation from God to His creation to walk His way and enjoy His love.
“but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” I John 2:5-6
This isn’t an issue of our obedience earning His love. His love for us is unwavering. This is an issue of how we experience God’s love.
Let me give you an example:
I love my children. I love them no matter what – whether they are charming and kind or defiant and rude. My love for them will never change. But the way they experience my love is partially up to them. My husband and I provide a safe warm home and food for them to eat. If one of my children were to run away because they didn’t want to obey the rules of our house, they would no longer experience that care and love, but it would still be there.
Do you see it?
His love is always there, but sometimes we refuse it. And yet His love remains.
We have the choice to rest in the loving arms of Christ and to walk His way or to bear the cold loneliness of our prideful self-will on a path of our own choosing.
Here are some of the ways God has been reminding me to walk lately:
- Humbly Cast Your Cares on Him (1 Peter 5:6&7). I like to figure things out on my own instead of humbly admitting my need and asking for help. Maybe you’re struggling under a burden right now. Whether it was brought on by your own wayward choices or not, have you stopped tapping into your own flawed and frail logic long enough to humbly admit you don’t have the answers and you can’t solve it on your own? We don’t even give Him or His love a chance when we greedily cling to our problems – even the small ones.
- Give Thanks (Phil. 4:6; 1 Thess. 5:18; Ps. 30:40; and many more). There is an element of humility involved in giving thanks. When we give thanks, we acknowledge that we have received something, not earned it. Giving thanks forces me to recognize to Whom praise is due – and it’s not me. Maybe you feel like you have earned a lot on your own, but who is it that makes us prosper? Every good and perfect gift is from above – we have nothing to boast about. If pride keeps us from giving thanks, it’s no wonder that it keeps us from abiding in God’s love.
- Stop Worrying (Phil. 4:6-9). Does it seem impossible? Maybe it is, at least of our own strength. But that’s why the cure is communication with God and includes #1 and #2 above. (I’ve done some study and teaching on this topic. You can read more here).
These are just some of the ways God is helping me to course correct – to walk more closely in step with Him. So many more come to mind – Romans 12:1; 1 John 1:9; 1 Peter 3:15; Matthew 11:29; 1 Corinthians 12:1; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 1 Peter 2:19; Ephesians 4:1-6; well, pretty much the whole book of Ephesians…..for that matter, the whole Bible!
I want to abide in His love, experience it. My guess is you do too.
Let’s walk His way together.
This verse is my prayer for you and for me:
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God [!!!!!!!!!!].” (Ephesians 3:14-19)