We know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. (1 John 4:16)
His Love is Perfect
God (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) wants us to rely, depend, believe in His love for us. He wants us to have faith, trust, and confidence in Him, but never to take Him or His love for granted. Christians get great pleasure thinking about God’s love for us in Jesus Christ, because that love is perfect. Our love for Him is always very imperfect. Despite our best intentions, our feelings go up and down, hot and cold. We may feel very loving toward the Lord sometimes, but not at other times. Feelings come and go, but God’s love for us never changes. His love for us is the most steadfast thing in the universe, more reliable than human love. Twenty-six times Psalm 136 reminds us: God’s love, kindness, graciousness, mercy, and compassion endures forever. So even if no one else loves us, Christians can rejoice in the Lord’s love for us.
The Lord Loves His Believers Personally and Individually
Paul writes in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Notice that he says “I” four times and “me” three times. Every Christian can say the same. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) praised the Lord saying, “You are good and all-powerful, caring for each one of us as though each is the only one in your care.” People paraphrase that to say that God loves each of Jesus’ followers as if there were only one of us to love. But we are not to be solo Christians. Christ has connected us to all of His other loved ones, His Church.
Christ has come to save a great multitude of people that no one can count, from every nation, tribe, people and language.1 This is Jesus’ whole family, His little brothers and sisters, gathered from the creation of humankind until the day of Christ’s return. But God’s love is not divided up and spread thin among us. God’s love for us is always strong and steadfast. Even if billions call on Him at the same time, Jesus won’t ignore any. He hears and takes time to listen to every single one of us. He is our High Priest who is able to empathize and sympathize with us because He is fully God and fully human in one person forever. And He understands us because He been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet He did not sin. So we can approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, to receive mercy and help in our time of need.2 Because He loves us, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit hear and answer our prayers.
Jesus’ Cross Work in the Highest Expression of God’s Love
1 John 4:10 says “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our wrongs on the cross, to make us right with God. This is crucially important, but I will not expand upon it now.
We Don’t Always Feel Loved
We may feel forsaken or abandoned at times, like many Christians before us and around us, but our feelings are not to be trusted. God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my Helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere people, or problems, or even the devil do to me?”3 We are secure in God’s deep, deep love.
We still have bad days, even bad months and years when things go wrong. We feel mistreated, misunderstood, overloaded and overworked. We feel alone. C. S. Lewis said that we feel lost and unfulfilled in this world because we were made for another world and for fellowship with God. Lewis is right! That’s what Jesus comes to restore.
So how do we keep being heavenly-minded until Christ returns for us?
Reminders from Scripture
- Psalm 42:8 Each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing His songs, praying to God who gives me life. (NLT)
We are glad because of Jesus’ care, protection, and blessing around the clock. The Psalmist praised the Lord seven times a day.4 Adoring God, thanking Him, and rejoicing in Him decentralizes ourselves and puts the focus back on the Lord where it belongs. Jesus is our light, our salvation, and the stronghold of our life. And Christ takes away all our fears.5
- Psalm 147:3-4 He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. (NLT)
God treats us with fatherly love, restoring, reviving, and rebuilding us. He mends our brokenness and forgives our wrongs. Jesus said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor; sick people do. I have not come to call those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”6 Christians confess our failings to God often to receive fresh helpings of His pardon and cleansing.
- Isaiah 49:15-16 Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. (NLT)
The Lord bends over backwards to assure us that He loves us more than any mother has ever loved her own child. Everything He does in our life, He does out of love. Even in the hard times, He works for our good and to our benefit, to bring a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in His way.7 So we hang on to the Lord by faith, knowing that He holds on to us.
- Matthew 28:20 And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (NLT)
After Jesus’ resurrection, Matthew’s gospel ends with the promise of Christ’s comforting, empowering, sanctifying presence. In Matthew 1, He is called Immanuel (God with us). And Jesus is still God with us every day, to the end of human history, and even into the new heavens and new earth Christ has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.8
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for making us your family who belong to Jesus and who are filled with the Holy Spirit. Thank you for giving us your grace and peace and joy and love. Help us to spread your Good News about Christ to others. Continue your good work in us until it is finally finished on the day when Jesus our Lord returns. We pray in His name. Amen.
Notes (various translations): 1 Rev 7:9. 2 Heb 4:14-16. 3 Heb 13:5-6. 4 Psalm 119:164. 5 Psalm 27:1. 6 Mark 2:17. 7 Heb 12:11. 8 2 Peter 3:13; Rev 21-22.