by Steven L. Pogue
A relationship with God is like no other relationship you may have experienced. God has a unique kind of love for you. It is unconditional (not based upon meeting certain conditions). God loves you because He loves you.
“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only 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…” (1 John 4:9,10)
He does not love you based upon your performance. There is nothing you can do to cause God to love you any more than He already does—and there is nothing that will cause God to love you any less. He loves you, even more than you love yourself.
Until now you have probably only experienced conditional love. Conditional love is based upon what you do. Perform well on the job, on the team, or in the relationship, and you are “loved.”
In opening your life to Christ, you have found total love and acceptance. That may be hard to comprehend if you’ve never felt totally loved and accepted by anyone. But it’s true! Unfortunately, you won’t always feel that God loves you. There will be times when you find yourself doubting not only His love, but also His existence. You’ll feel like giving up. Don’t.
When God gave you a new life, it didn’t come trimmed in lace and smelling of perfume. Jesus began His earthly life in a smelly, damp stable. He tasted real life, and that will be the flavor of your journey with Christ—no magic, just the promise of His presence with you.
God says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3).
There’s a Danish proverb: “The next mile is the only one a person really has to make.” The knowledge that God loves you will keep you going when the next mile seems intolerably long: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38,39)
Our faith rests in what God has revealed about Himself to us. He specifically wants us to believe and rely on His love for us:
“…the Lord delights in those who fear [reverence] him, who put their hope in his unfailing love” (Psalms 147:11).
“…the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love.” (Psalms 33:18)
King David, whom God referred to “as a man after my own heart”1 trusted God’s love: “…I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. O my strength, I sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God” (Psalms 59:16,17).
Jesus describes the depth of His love for us, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:9-11). He loves us no matter what—even when we disobey. But we will live in His love, enjoy His love, as we obey Him.
To grow in your understanding of God’s love for you, take some time over the next few weeks and read Psalms 103, John 15, and 1 John 4, and note all the ways that God’s love is described.