The Bible says in Romans chapter 8 that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Not life or death, not angels or demons, not the present or the future, no powers, not height or depth – nothing in all creation is able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. This is one of the most beautiful and reassuring passages in the Bible. But wait – we read this, maybe even memorize it, but still we do not manage to get it down into our hearts. So many of us even as Christians have such a tremendous misconception of who God is and what His love is like.
Many of us think of God as a coach, and we are the athlete on His team. When we do well, we feel on top of the world. It seems we can feel His love on those occasions, and that we can feel His acceptance and pleasure. But when we do something wrong, or have a bad day and do stupid things, then we imagine that He hates us and could never be pleased with us again. Others think of God as an office manager – He will be happy with us if we do the right things, but if we do them wrong or not at all, He might demote us, or fire us, or worse. Still others view God as a prison warden – if we only work hard enough, we might someday please Him and finish our life sentence of paying for our sin. Or maybe He is like our last bad relationship, who only loved us as long as we met their expectations. Worse than any of these misconceptions are those of us who think of God as a father, but refuse to look past a terrible example of a father we might have here on earth. Some people have been abused and manipulated by their fathers (or a father-figure) and cannot begin to imagine that God might be any different.
Add to all of this the fact that most of us are uncertain what love actually is. It seems so complicated - in English we use the same word to talk about such vastly different things. In the same conversation you might find yourself telling a friend, “I love my sister,” and then, “I love pizza!” This lends to our confusion. What is love? There are people talking and singing about it everywhere you turn. If you tune in to what the world says about love, you will believe that it is a magical happening, a fuzzy feeling, a biological function, a roller-coaster – all kinds of things except for what it actually is. And we are surrounded by examples of people who say they love each other, but only stay as long as their needs and wants are being satisfied or until someone better comes along.
God’s love is altogether different than that. His love is never selfish or fickle - it is never retractable, or comparative, or conditional. God’s love is the strongest and purest substance in the universe. We should get our idea of what love is from Him, not from what we see happening in the world around us.
Winkie Pratney gave us an excellent definition of real love as an unselfish choice for the highest good of God and His Kingdom. Love is a conscious act of the will. It is not a fleeting feeling at all - it is a choice, a decision that is acted upon. True love, then, is consistently and constantly choosing for someone else’s highest good.
The Lord of Heaven and Earth has pledged to love us with an everlasting love. The creator of the universe chooses to love us - He is not distant and uncaring. He is near and wants the best for you. The very One who carefully and purposefully knit each of us together in our mother’s womb will care for us every day of our lives. Everyday, forever He chooses for the highest good – for all of us, all over the planet. God loves you, and God loves your neighbor. His love never quits, it never gives up, and it always hopes. He will never leave you or forsake you. My friend Donnie Moore always said that there is nothing you can do to make God stop loving you, just like there was nothing that you did to make Him start loving you. God is True Love – He is what we have each been looking for all this time.
The world can be so dark. Terrorists blow things up, greedy people ruin financial markets, big storms come and wipe away entire cities. We can lose our jobs, our riches, our homes…we can lose our health, our freedom, even our lives. But nothing – nothing – can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, and which is forever.
So I will end this with a prayer from Ephesians chapter 3 – “I pray that you being rooted and established in love may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Knowledge like this will change your life…and will change the world.
Hi! I'm Mary - mother to two wonderful grown daughters, wife to an incredible husband, and loving our life in the piney woods of Texas... (read more!)
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