“We have come to know [by personal observation and experience], and have believed [with deep, consistent faith] the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides continually in him.” 1 John 4:16 Amplified version.
God IS love. I don’t know about you, but I desire to abide in Him always and have Him continually abide in me. God loves us! Not just collectively as a group of people but as individuals too! It’s so hard for many, including me, to grasp that. Until one day, I did, and then nothing could convince me otherwise. How can we abide in love when we don’t really know what love is?
I spent the majority of my life feeling completely and totally unlovable. My parents struggled with alcoholism and it was a struggle that contributed to many of the biggest strongholds I’ve had to break off of my life as an adult. I built up huge walls and refused to let anyone in. No one knew the real me because I put on a different mask with everyone I was around. I exhibited traits that were not anything like the true me in an effort to be accepted by whoever I was with at the moment. The reality was, I hated myself. I thought no one else could love me either so I refused to be vulnerable, I refused to let anyone in. Even when people told me that they loved me, I didn’t really believe them, not that I thought they were liars but I didn’t think it could be real love.
About six years ago, I began a journey of healing through God’s love. I was praying and a prophet came up to me and interrupted my prayers to tell me that he had something important to say to me. I opened my eyes and gave him my attention. He told me, “God loves you.” I thanked him and closed my eyes and continued to pray. He interrupted me again, “You don’t understand! God needs you to hear Him. He says, ‘ I need to tell you that He loves you!’” He knew. He saw right through me. My mask was failing me. I wasn’t able to hide from God, shocker! My God loves me so much that He had someone that I knew heard from Him on a regular basis (this same man had given me words before that were right on and I knew his preaching was in line with the word as well) tell me that He, the God of the universe, loves me. I knew He loved me. How could He not, He IS love! I knew all the verses that pointed out how much He loves me and how much He loves us all, but I still hadn’t received the revelation of what that really meant. I knew it in my mind, but I had never let it penetrate my heart until that moment and it wrecked me.
"God Loves you!
Growing up emotionally abused by the lifestyle of my parents, had left many deep scars. I remember always being on guard and ready for the next, “crap to hit the fan” moment. Any time things seemed okay, it was too good to be true. I knew it couldn’t last. I had absolutely no sense of security.
Insecurity is nothing new. It began with Eve in the Garden over 2000 years ago. The moment the serpent asked, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” In that instant he created doubt in Eve’s mind and she began to look to herself for the answer. The fruit looked good to eat. We become insecure when we stop looking to God for our truth. If we choose to believe what God says, no matter the questions that come, our security will be in Him.
Does my body look as thin as it should? It doesn’t end there. You name a gift God put into operation in your life and you’ll see thoughts of doubt begin to come. The Lord told me to join the worship team at my church 2 different times and both times, after obeying God and joining, I immediately started doubting my ability to sing. The enemy is crafty and he’ll sow doubt in you in an attempt to delay or completely detour your destiny.
My parents aren’t the affectionate type. I never understood this growing up, I thought they never hugged or kissed me or told me they loved me simply because they didn’t. I must be a horrible person if even my parents couldn’t love me. The thought invaded my mind every day, several times a day. As a result, I’ve always struggled with being a people pleaser and striving for perfection. As I’ve grown and with much leading from the Lord, I have discovered that they do and did in fact love me, but they don’t have the same love language as I do and they weren’t able to adequately discern what I needed to feel loved by them through their hurt.
Here’s an example; my mom’s love language is giving gifts. Any time she hurt me growing up, she’d buy me something. I always felt like she was trying to buy my forgiveness. I have struggled with receiving gifts since I was a kid because of this. I realize now that she was trying to tell me she was sorry and that she loved me in the only way she knew how. I love to give, but I always feel the need to pay for anything anyone tries to give me, or earn it somehow.
God is still dealing with me on receiving gifts graciously, but I’ve come a long way from where I once was. I’m worth the gift to Him. He wants to bless me. He is a God of abundance. This is evident all throughout scripture. He provided more than enough wine at the wedding and not just wine but the best they’d ever had. He provided more than enough fish and bread as there were leftovers even after all had had their fill. When the disciples couldn’t catch any fish, He had them throw their nets to the other side. They caught so many that the nets nearly broke.
He doesn’t just love us a little, He loves us with an abundant, never ending, unconditional love. Read that again! Not because we love Him, He loved us first. “We love, because He first loved us” 1 John 4:19 Amplified. When your foundation of love stems from a broken view on what love is, it’s inconceivable that God could ever really love you, and even if He does, what does that really mean? The only time my earthly parents told me they loved me was a very quick, “love you, bye” that sounded like one word instead of three, at the end of a phone call, or when my mom was really drunk.
I have heard God tell me that He loves me many times since, usually during moments of self doubt. I am reminded immediately that He loves me and not only does He love me but so much so that His focus is on me. My biggest love languages are quality time and affection. He knows exactly how each of us need Him to show love to us. I still don’t feel love when I receive gifts. In fact, I have to fight my flesh every time I receive a gift in order to receive it with grace. It is always uncomfortable to say the least. God actually told me once, “how can you believe I love you and refuse to let me bless you?” Living in His love means living in the blessings He has for us. It means living in the security that we can’t do anything to earn that love and we can’t do anything to lose His love. In the same way that we can’t earn or buy our salvation, we can’t earn or buy His love.
Being a parent has served as a great teacher to me for many of the lessons God has taught me concerning love in general but most especially, His love. I constantly hear Him reminding me of verses like Matthew 7:9-11 “9
“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him”.
I love to give things to my children. I love to see them full of joy and excitement. I love seeing them be blessed! It hurt me to realize how much it must hurt when God uses others to give me good gifts and I don’t receive them well. Once I realized this, I refused to continue believing the lie that I’m not worth being blessed. He made me worthy. I am a co-heir with Christ. Finding my identity in Him instead of believing the lies I had heard my entire life, has continued the healing that God began in me the moment He told me that He loved me.
He loves you too! He loves you in all of the mistakes you’ve made, in all of your weaknesses, in all of your failures. I am not a prophet, but God does tell me to tell others things fairly often at this point in my life. I’m amazed at how many people He has me tell that He loves them. I thought I was the only one that needed this revelation from Him. He has brought friends into my life that I can depend on, trust and lean on for godly help. These friends truly love me, the real me, and I truly love them. In a way that I know could never be possible had I not shaken those lies loose all those years ago. It’s never comfortable to be vulnerable with others, but I can’t express how much it’s blessed me to be vulnerable with the friends God has given me. They don’t judge me, they build me up and council me with love. Being vulnerable publicly, such as writing this, would be impossible without knowing the truth of who I am in Him. I love leaving insecurity behind to live in security in His love. Praise God!
You can’t do anything to earn His love, He is love, therefore, He has no choice but to love you. It’s innate to who He is. The God of the universe loves you! Let that sink in. I challenge you today to begin to walk with your head held high, in the truth and security of His love.
This month I want to introduce you to my friend Melissa. Melissa is one of the few people in my inner circle and I have seen the fruit in her life. She truly honors the Lord through her love for people. I pray that this post will remind you of how loved you truly are. Abide in that love and do not let your situation or your past define you or your worthiness of God's love.
May you be blessed!