Okay, so the Bible says that God loves us just as much as He loves Jesus (John 17:23). Can I get a “Yes, Amen!”? Um..yeah…amen. You know that was a pretty weak response, right? But, understandable. That’s a pretty expansive idea for the human mind to completely take in. We typically don’t have too much trouble accepting the notion that God loves Jesus…a lot! He said so on that mountain, right in front of Peter, James and John! (Matthew 17:5) I mean, why wouldn’t He? This is Jesus we’re talking about.
But, He loves us just as much?!? Takes a while for that one to sink in. Jesus was (and still is) perfect; but the only requisite condition most of us need in order to start messing up is to simply be awake. Still, God’s Word says He loves us that much – and He can’t lie, so we accept it (Numbers 23:19; John 17:17; Romans 3:4; Hebrews 6:18).
Yes, because the Word says He loves us that much, we know enough to ‘accept’ it – we mentally acknowledge and ascribe to it. But we often are not fully convinced of it, and find it almost impossible to understand. Fortunately (for us), God knew this was something we might potentially struggle with. He was well aware that the sheer vastness of His love for us – the breadth, depth, length and height of it – would be difficult for our human peanuts to comprehend. And yet, it is possible for us to do. That’s precisely why He gave us His Word written down so we could read of His love for us, and an imagination so we could think on and picture it (Proverbs 23:7; 2 Peter 1:19).
Imagination? Sure. God put it to work on Abraham. He knew his natural mind would balk at the notion of having even one child (since he was already getting on in years), much less a whole beach full of them (Genesis 22:17; Hebrews 11:12). So He brought Abram outside – and you know it just had to be a crystal-clear night – and told him to look up and count all the stars, if he could; because that was what the number of his children would be like (Genesis 15:5). Can’t you picture the man sitting out there on every clear night he could find afterward, gazing at those stars and imagining his future children?
Furthermore, to seal the deal in Abrams’s mind, God put it in terms that he could readily comprehend: He cut a covenant with him. Abram fully understood the implications of a covenant; much, much more than we do today. He knew that when two parties entered into an agreement which was ratified by bloodshed (in other words, on penalty of death), the terms of such a pact could not be altered or broken. In his attitude and thinking, Abram became fully convinced that God not only had to but would keep the promise He had spoken to him (Romans 4:21; Hebrews 6:17-19).
You know, God really hasn’t changed His tactics when dealing with us today. He uses things we understand to speak to us; He meets and teaches us at our level in order for us to be able to ‘see the light.’, So, if you’ve got children of your own (or even if you don’t – it’ll still work for you, too), here’s a very simple exercise that’ll help you tremendously to begin to grasp God’s personal love for you: sit quietly every so often and just reflect on how much you love your own kids.
That’s it? Yes, that’s it. If you’re any kind of parent, your children are continually in your very heart – even when you occasionally seem to find them in other locations, such as under your skin. Nevertheless, you love them with an inexplicable love. You want them to have everything. You want to give them everything. You want them to be successful and happy all the time. And woe to the person you find hurting them! That’s a parent’s love – it’s your love for your kids, isn’t it?
Well, where do you think you got that from? The devil? Of course not! You’re created in God’s image. The understanding you have inside you right now of your love for your own children – how you feel about them – is just the way your heavenly Father feels about you. He put that love inside you. So if you comprehend your love for your own kids, that’s a pretty good start in understanding His love for His – for you.
Ask your Father to reveal the love He has for you (James 1:5-6, 4:2). He’ll begin giving you glimpses of His heart here and there; often using your own feelings toward your kids, and then quietly reminding you, deep down inside, that that’s how He feels about you. Before very long, you’ll be basking in the glow of some really blessed assurance, and you’ll find yourself quiet and comfortable and enveloped in His warm embrace. Remember, it’s His will that you know, believe and be firmly grounded in His personal love for you (Ephesians 3:17-19; 1 John 4:16). So, ask. It’s a promise that He has to – and is more than willing to – fulfill. After all, it’s been ratified by the blood of Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20; Hebrews 9:13-16).
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