I think we can all come up with at least one Bible verse that assures us of God’s love – if nothing else, John 3:16 will come to mind. Most of us don’t doubt that God loves us, that He has our best in mind, and that He sacrificed Himself for us.
But how about when you just yelled at your kids, when you said words to your friend or spouse you wish you could take back, when you felt the Spirit urging you to speak up and you didn’t, when you saw a need and didn’t meet it, when you blew it, when you feel like you’re a failure, and you’ve made a mess of your life again? Do you believe that God still loves you, unconditionally? My guess is you would probably say yes, though you may do so somewhat hesitantly. But do you believe that God LIKES you? Or do you feel that He just puts up with you during these times because, well, you are His child?
Since we are imperfect humans with imperfect relationships and imperfect emotions, we inadvertently and subconsciously place these same imperfect characteristics on our Heavenly Father. “He must not like me right now because of this mess I got myself in… I’ll have to dig my way out of this or suffer the consequences to earn His favour back”, or “God will like me again if I do this or that…” – and the list goes on and on.
Do you remember what the Father said about Jesus at His baptism? “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17). God said that He loved Jesus and that He liked Jesus – He was WELL PLEASED with Him. And God extends this same blessing to all His children – He loves unconditionally and is also WELL PLEASED WITH US through Jesus!
This is a truth that has the power to transform us! This is what sets our God apart from all other gods and religions – we don’t have to live with guilt, condemnation, depression, or shame. We don’t have to try to earn our way back to Him. Repentance – a broken, changed heart and mind – is all He is looking for. He will give us the desire and humility to make things right. He will give us the power to do better next time. He is the only One who can transform us to be more like our perfect example, Jesus.
He is the One who created us in the first place. Uniquely. Beautifully. Completely. He knew about our flaws and sins before we were even born, and He chose us anyway. He is ALWAYS our Daddy, and He delights in being right there beside us in all our mess and brokenness, arms outstretched, smiling, because He sees us as the lost little lamb who needs to be carried back home. There may be wounds and scars that need healing, but our Father is there to bandage us up, all the while stroking our back and telling us that everything will be ok, that He understands, and that He likes and loves us nonetheless.
Last week I talked about our identity in Christ, and that who we are is more important than what we do. We are His precious, cherished children, regardless of what we do or don’t do!
I pray that we would all take a deep breath and bask in the freedom and joy of His love, His radiant smile beaming down at us, and His arms wrapped around us as He whispers: “Everything will be ok. I love you. I like you. And I will help you through this. Just let me.”
I know God loves me – but I also know that He likes me. And that is the motivation that drives me to live for His honour and glory, to share His love with others. His love for me is so great that if I just take the time to let Him lavish it on me, it spills over into all my relationships. It changes my attitude, my outlook, my being. It transforms me. What a wonderful Father we have!