Have you thought lately about your relationship with God as your Father lately?
I don't mean just a casual knowledge that God is your heavenly Father; we all know that that is the relationship we have been given through Christ, but do we really comprehend it? I know I don't.
When you think of the words "Heavenly Father," what do you think of? Do you immediately think of the attributes of God that He has laid out for us so clearly throughout His word? His goodness, holiness, mercy, steadfast love, protection, & provision? Or is there a disconnect between what you know & what you actually believe? AW Tozer said that "your view of God is the most important thing about you." Do you truly view God as your perfect, loving Heavenly Father, or do you feel like He has forgotten about you? The Lord has been bringing these questions & others back to me over & over this semester, and I am admittedly still working through everything that He's trying to teach me. But I just wanted to share what He has taught me so far.
I'll admit it; one of the biggest things that I struggle with in my relationship with the Lord is truly comprehending that He loves me unconditionally. I didn't use to struggle with this at all. I heard it all my life, & I honestly didn't think I was that bad of a person, but the more I understand my own sin nature & the more I see how short I fall of righteousness, the more easily doubt creeps into my heart. I didn't recognize it until early this semester when I was in Hebrews 12 & Psalm 103 in my devotions. Although it wasn't a "lightbulb" moment, it started the ball rolling on understanding what was going on in my heart & in my view of God. Of course I know that God loves me more than anyone else does & that His love is unconditional, but that knowledge hadn't really, truly sunk into my heart. Deep down, I felt like I still had to earn it. It seems SO silly, because obviously I am a sinner. I could never, ever earn the kind of love that God gave to me when I accepted His gift of salvation & was made His child. But it's so easy to fall into the trap of feeling the need to do things to somehow earn God's favor; I mean after all, isn't that how it generally works in our human society? We have to do things, or act a certain way, & perform well to gain acceptance, a position, our grades, and even love. That's just the way we naturally think: I have to do _____ so that in return, I will gain ______. But the cool thing is, God has completely gone against every one of our socially shaped expectations of "earning." Let's take a look at some examples:
In our world, you have to be a friend to have a friend.
But God has said, "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us & sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins....We love Him because He first loved us." (1 John 4:10&19)
"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. " (Romans 5:6-10)
In our world, you must be faithful, (whether it be on the job, in a relationship, or any other area of life), in order to gain trust & eventually earn reward for your faithfulness.
But God's word has said, "If we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself." (2 Timothy 2:13)
Are you beginning to grasp how incredibly un-human God is? His rules for relationships are so opposite of what we're used to...thankfully! We don't have to earn His love. We don't have to worry that God will forsake us when we are faithless; did you catch the end of 2 Timothy 2:13? He cannot deny Himself. We have been redeemed the blood of Christ. Ok, you may still be thinking "I don't get it...what does God saying He cannot deny Himself have to do with me?" Here are some verses from Ephesians two that may help clear up the confusion: "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility." (verses 13-16)
Pretty sweet concept there! If you have accepted the gift of salvation that Christ made possible through His death on the cross, then you have been made one with God. He sent His Son to die so that you would know His love! I know this is the whole foundation of the gospel, but it is so easy to lose sight of the truth. It is so easy to start thinking that God gives favor based on what we do or don't do, but that is such a lie. I heard a quote during Sunday school that past week that really hit home. John Owen said "The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay on the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to him is not to believe that He loves you.”
Are you convinced of your Heavenly Father's love for you? Really think & pray about it this week. Is there any area of your life where you're living like you believe God's faithfulness & favor is dependent on your performance? Focus on truth! God has really been teaching me SO much in this area, that I won't try to cram it all into one post, but I hope to post again soon to continue sharing. =) Thanks for stopping by & I hope that you are blessed & comforted by the reality of our Heavenly Father's perfect, steadfast love.