“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:7-12
Many people simply can’t believe that the Lord could love them. Others believe that He loves them, but only when they are pleasing Him in some way. Why is it so hard for us to accept His unconditional love?
One reason is that we have a hard time loving others without condition. We might say the words “I love you” to our spouse, children, friends, co-workers, or fellow believers but all too often are calculating in our mind whether or not they’ve lived up to our standard. We sometimes excuse ourselves from loving certain people because their behavior upsets or annoys us. The fact that we place restrictions on extending favor causes us to wrongly assume that the Lord does likewise.
Another reason is poor self-image. Considering ourselves unworthy, we refuse to accept God’s love. You know what? None of us are worthy of the heavenly Father’s goodness and mercy–so you can let go of that excuse once and for all. We’re not coming to Him based on our worth. Rather, we’re coming to Him based on His grace, and our position is secure in Christ. To put yourself down as “beneath His grace” is to trample on His loving, generous gift. God arranged an awesome divine way for us to be reconciled to Him, and His greatest desire is for relationship with each of us.
If you feel unloved or struggle to accept yourself, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of our heavenly Father’s love for you — and to sink it deep into your heart. Receive the truth that He reveals. It will be a completely different story about your value as an individual.
Dr. Charles Stanley
Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc.
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