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Sunday, February 12, 2012

...He Loves Me Not...He Loves Me...He Loves Me Not...He Loves Me!

“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.”

2 John 1:6 NIV

This morning I am learning an amazing truth as I sit before the Master Gardner in the garden of my heart. I am looking at a patch of beautiful daisies and remembering my childhood game of plucking off the petals one at a time and saying, “he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not,” as I tried to determine if the cute boy I liked, liked me.

There are days that I question God’s love for me because I am hurting. Some days I feel overwhelmed by life and because I can’t seem to be able to get ahead, life seems hopeless and void of God’s love. Other days when I feel sad and I find myself lost in loneliness I wonder where God is. I question why death and personal loss hurt so much. On those days I find myself playing my childhood game as I ask God, “do you love me or do you love me not?” Some days I wonder if God still loves me because I have failed him. There have been times that I haven’t loved myself very much and when I am in that mindset I really struggle with the question, why should God love me because I’m not really worthy of his love. So today I look up into the clouds and remember that as a believer, I am a precious child of God and he does love me. I also know that God especially loves those who love him in return. As I continue to meditate on the truth of God’s love for me, a light goes on in my brain and I find myself on the brink of discovering why I may be experiencing times of insecurity regarding God’s love for me.

I am beginning to realize that accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Savior is exactly that and no more. Basically, when I accepted Jesus, I simply reached out to God in simple faith and accepted God’s free gift of salvation. This gift was made possible by the loving obedience of his Son, Jesus Christ, who was obedient even unto death, even the death on the cross. Yes, God’s unconditional and lavish love for me and all mankind is second to none. I am beginning to comprehend that it is not a matter of God loving me, but rather a matter of me loving God. How well do I return my love to God? That is the question tugging at my heartstrings today.

What does loving God look like? It looks like obedience. “And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.” 2 John 1:6 NIV The Bible is pretty clear that if I love God, I will obey him. If I don’t obey God I must view him as a casual acquaintance rather than being someone with whom I have a loving relationship. God is not satisfied with merely dating humanity, he wants a loving bride!

I think that when I fail to be obedient to God it is because I try to obey him for all the wrong reasons. Sometimes I obey God because I need to stay on good terms with him in case I need something. Sometimes I obey because I am afraid to disobey. Other times I obey because it makes me look good. That kind of selfish obedience is not based on love! Pure obedience is impossible unless it is fueled by love. As in any relationship, where there is pure love, obedience flows freely! I may not always do this perfectly. I’m pretty sure I won’t, but God loves it when I do! My obedience puts a smile on the face of God and he may even do the dance of joy! He shouts from the throne room in heaven, “She loves me! She loves me! She loves me!”

Obedience is my gift of love to God. He wants my obedience in my thought life, my words, my actions, my attitudes, my deeds, my giving, my work, and through loving others. “This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:17 NIV

It is our sinful nature to disobey God. We can blame Adam and Eve all we want to but even if they had not eaten the fruit, somewhere down the road some other couple would have. It could have been Sarah and Abraham, or Rebekah and Isaac, or Ruth and Billy Graham, or Paula and Joe, or You and _________. I am convinced that all of us, from the beginning of time up until this very moment, are more than capable of succumbing to the temptation of believing the deadly lie of Satan that whispered, “Eat this fruit and you can be like God.”

Because God is all knowing, God knew that weak, frail humans would take Satan’s bait. God knew that the beautiful apple would look so appealing that it would be impossible for us to resist. God knew that mankind would fail. Adam and Eve would eat and as they tasted the apple the juices would be deliciously sweet and delectable. But at the very moment they swallowed the flesh of the apple sourness would overcome them carrying with it a fatal, lethal poison. That poison was sin! At that moment in time all humanity became victims of sin.

Even before the foundation of the earth God knew that we would fail, in fact he set us up for failure. He created us from dust to be weak and needy. Why on earth would a loving God do that? Because God knew that it was only out of our failure and despair that we would need him. It was out of this need that we would come to know the full extent of his love. God’s love says, “I want you back. I am a jealous God and I want you all to myself because I love you and I need you to love me in return.” God knew it was the only way. He had to let us go so that we could choose to come back to him and love him. God knew that we were lost and could not find our way home so he implemented his perfect, already in place plan. God would provide a perfect, sinless sacrificial lamb to atone for our sin as a means of getting us back. Because of God’s great love for humanity he gave us his one and only Son, Jesus Christ, who became that lamb.

God did all he could to fix the sin of man but still his solution still needs each individual’s personal acceptance of his remedy. You see love is not taken or forced, it is given. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 NIV Does God love us? Yes indeed!

Mankind has walked so far away from the garden that we have no memory of what God’s perfection really looks like.
We don’t remember Eden. We have forgotten what the loving relationship between God and man really felt like. We have come to accept the good of God’s love yet we are still missing the best of his love that is reserved only for those who love him in return. I am starting to see that the only way I can return love to my precious Father in heaven is through my obedience. My obedience must be motivated only by my love.

God loves me… He loves me not… yes! …He loves me! God has two valentines for all of us today. The first valentine is his blood red heart that bleeds forgiveness and provides a covering for your sin and mine. The second valentine is his nail scared hand that carries a valentine that has written on it, “I love you and I will never leave you or forsake you. Love, God.” When I accepted his first valentine I accepted forgiveness for my personal sin. When I accept his second valentine I claim this precious promise.

These two valentines are available to all who will reach up and take them. Jesus’ valentines are intended for his bride. Believers are the bride of Jesus Christ and it is God's intention that we walk life together in a two way intimate relationship. Someday soon, Jesus will come again for his bride, his church, and we will go to live with him forever. Imagine this, God has lavished his love on us even before the foundation of the world and all he wants in return is to be loved back!


Are you feeling unloved?

Have you been wondering if God loves you?

As a believer is your obedience motivated by your love for God?

What can you do to fall deeper in love with Jesus?

What is God asking of you this day?

If you are not sure if God loves you pray and ask God to come into your life and give you that assurance.


Dear Almighty God,

God you know everything. You are all powerful. God you have the ability to be everywhere all the time. God you have created all things. God I now see the one and only thing that you are in need of is fellowship with mankind that is based on our love for you. God I see more clearly now that your perfect plan was designed to lure us back and make us your bride. God, I am reminded that you call me but you do not force me. The choice of loving you is mine alone. God I am beginning to realize that if I am to get the most out of my salvation I simply must walk with you daily. God forgive me when I only take from your gracious loving hand. Father, forgive me for all of the times that I have failed to be obedient. God I want to fall deeply in love with you. I now realize that if I am to fall deeper in love with you I must spend more time with you and I must be willing to demonstrate my love to you through my obedience. God I pray that I would give you my obedience one “yes God” at a time. I want to thank you for loving me. God, I am beginning to understand that every time I choose to be obedient I am sending my valentine of love up to you. God, I thank you for your valentines of love and faithfulness to me. Father, I pray that I will strive to know you more intimately, and as a result, fall deeper in love with you.

In the name of your precious Son I pray. Amen