God loves you. Do you believe that?
If you ever sat through Sunday school as a child, you probably believe that on a simple level. However, now that you’re an adult, ask yourself that question again, considering all your life experiences and religious training: Do you believe, truly believe, that God loves you? Do you trust the love of God when you get up in the morning and lay down at night? Do you know it when you’re at work and when you’re at home, when you’re surrounded by fellow believers and when you’re all alone?
This is important because how you answer that question affects so much. It will change the way you interact with your heavenly Father, your family and even yourself. First John 4:7-10 explains the depth of God’s love this way:
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
God’s love for you—and every other person—is the reason He sacrificed His Son for mankind. It is also why He sent the Holy Spirit as a gift to the Body of Christ. Need more proof? Just read 1 John 4:13-16: “And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.”
You can never get away from God’s love. No matter what you have or haven’t done in your life, His love is always with you. However, you can greatly hinder the effect of His love in your life by living and acting like you don’t trust in His love. Below are six telltale signs that you are not really trusting in the love of God.
1. When You Blame God During Challenges
It’s easy to profess that God loves you when everything is going well, but what about when challenges come? That’s when you may find yourself turning on God and asking, “Why did You let this happen to me?”
That isn’t a new response. It’s the same one the disciples had when a storm threatened to topple their boat. “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” they asked (Mark 4:38).
If they had truly understood God’s love for them, they would have recognized that: 1) Jesus, the Messiah, was with them, and 2) The storm was no problem for Him to handle.
James 1:2-8 tells us to handle crises like this:
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
When challenges come, you don’t want to have divided loyalty, or as the King James Version puts it, be “double-minded.” You want to trust in the love of God to help you overcome every obstacle.
2. When You Blame Your Lack of Faith on Your Humanity
You’ve heard believers say, “We’re only human.” What a false statement! You may have been “only human” before you were born again, but as a born-again believer in the Most High God, you are more than “only human.” Ephesians 2:10 calls you “God’s masterpiece…. created anew.” You are a new creation, and the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead now lives in you.
Right before His death, Jesus prayed this for every believer:
I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began! (John 17:20-24)
Never again consider yourself “only human.” You are a born-again human, and there’s a difference. God now lives in you with all of His power and glory, and that is anything but normal. It is a miracle!
3. When You Allow Fear Into Your Life
Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8, NKJV). Think about that: God’s love for you—His provision for you, His care for you, His interest in you—never fails. However, if you allow fear into your life, then you are denying that love. And when you deny that love, you open the door for the enemy to wreak havoc. Fear can create the double-mindedness we talked about earlier. It’s the double-mindedness that says, “Sure, God loves me,” and then thinks, but maybe He wants me sick. It’s also the double-mindedness that says, “Yes, God loves me, but maybe He’s mad at me because I haven’t done (fill in the blank.).”
However, if you’ll turn away from fear and toward God and His Word, you won’t just manage fear (i.e., keep it at bay); you’ll expel it (1 John 4:18).
4. When You Deny Your Right
You probably know Jesus as your Savior, but have you considered that He is your advocate, too? First John tells you that when you fall short—and everyone falls short—that you have an advocate with the Father. Jesus doesn’t fill that position grudgingly or resentfully. No, He paid the ultimate price to hold that position for you and every other believer. That’s the right—your right—that He made possible. So, when you need forgiveness, you can simply and earnestly ask for it in Jesus’ Name, and you will receive it. Praise God!
5. When You Embrace Hate and Unforgiveness
First John 2:9-11 tells us just how important it is to walk in forgiveness: “If anyone claims, ‘I am living in the light,’ but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.”
Jesus paid the price needed to free you from the enemy’s hold on your life, but there are instances when you can invite the enemy back into your life. We covered one way above—by embracing fear—but there is another way—by entertaining hate and unforgiveness. It’s only when we walk in love with others that we can enjoy the peace and security of the love of God.
6. When You Give in to Reckless Words
Jesus implied just how important the words we speak are when He said, “The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me” (John 14:10b). He only spoke what the Father told Him to speak. Being fully God and fully human, He could have chosen to give in to human urgings and speak without faith, but He didn’t…and neither should you. Reckless words often lead to double-mindedness, fear, unforgiveness and turning against God.
If you find yourself doing any one of these six things, take a moment to repent before God, and ask Him to give you a deeper revelation of His love for you. You must do more than simply will yourself not to give in to these tendencies. You must first accept God’s unparalleled and all-encompassing love. He loves you. Period. As His child, He is on your side 100 percent of the time. By clinging to His Word, you can build your faith and change your life to reflect the love of God and be a beacon of light to a hurting and disillusioned world.
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