You can hear a catchphrase so often that you don’t catch it anymore. Familiarity causes the words to sluggishly slip unnoticed into the back seat of your thoughts while fresh sights and sounds take the wheel.
For instance, if I had a dime for every time my mama said, “God loves you,” my children’s college tuition would be paid in full. For the longest time, the repetition deafened me to the gravity of those words. Sure, God loves me. God loves everybody.
To be honest, I let the words roll off of me because I wasn’t particularly sure how He really felt about me. After all, I knew my failings in real time. Eventually I took a closer look at this “God loves you” God, and I realized He actually did love even me. Not even my imperfections could jeopardize this reality. But can I tell you a secret? I assumed God loves me because that’s what He’s supposed to do. Isn’t it God’s job to love? It’s pretty much written in the contract for “God-dom,” right?
If God had no choice in the matter, His love seemed dutiful, kind of like taking out trash or paying taxes . . . it’ the right thing to do, but certainly nothing to get excited about.
I repeatedly heard similar gracious catchphrases that further skewed my perceptions, such as, “God accepts you just as you are.” Accepts? He “accepts” me? This description of God’s love sounded as if He only begrudgingly allowed me inside His inner circle.
It took me years to realize how severely my assumptions had veered off track. People’s descriptions and interpretations of God’s love fall short every time. His intentions toward us are simply too enormous for the human language. The reality is that God doesn’t merely accept us. The Creator of the Universe fully embraces us as family. It utterly astounds me!
So what’s the difference between “accept” and “embrace”? Imagine kindly allowing a pedestrian to cross in front of you in a busy parking lot. You both go separately about your business, with no consequence but no connection either. Now imagine passionately enveloping your child after a long separation. You unreservedly wrap yourself around that walking, talking piece of your heart with love that refuses to let go. Accept and embrace . . . do you catch the difference?
Are you beginning to see the irrationality of this “God loves you”? Jesus left home to make a home in you. There was no coercion, no mere duty…only a compelling love that willingly and selflessly did whatever it took to get in your corner and remain there all your days.
Why don’t you stop for a moment and let your soul breathe Him in? Inhale and exhale the inexhaustible love of God that whispers to your heart right now.
When we truly “catch” God’s intentions toward us, we can live with a profound assurance that His relentless love pursues us. We can walk confidently through our days knowing that the Father never hesitantly accepts us; rather, He lavishly embraces us. God’s unwavering obsession with our well-being energizes us to live wholly empowered by all He is and all He gives.
When we truly discern how inexhaustibly God loves us and delights in saying “yes” to our deepest desires, we will wholeheartedly trust His “no” or “not yet.” This good Father sees around the bend and protects us in ways that remain hidden from where we stand, but always work for our good.
It’s time to hit the reset button. Stop allowing distorted paradigms to taint your perception of God’s love for you. Live full because He gives fully!
Say it with me: I am extremely blessed. I am highly favored. I am deeply loved. Oh, YES. YOU. ARE! Catch that!
For comments or prayer, contact Dr. Lanier at HopeCommunityChurch.tv.