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July 02, 2024

Love 101: Grasping God’s Love for You

In this four-week series, we're headed to "love school" to learn to experience deeper depths of love—from God, within ourselves, and with others. This Love 101 post is about grasping God's amazing and unconditional love for each of us. Because when you put knowledge into action, love changes everything. It helps us become more secure, loving, and joyful with our family, friends, significant other, and people who are hard to love.

God loves you. We hear that phrase often in church. We see John 3:16 signs at sporting events ("For God so loved the world…").

Indeed, it is a profound and amazing truth that the Creator of the universe cares for us.

But have you truly experienced God's love for you?

Has this unconditional love and acceptance penetrated the depths of your heart? More importantly, does it change your words and actions in daily life?

Some people are unsure of what love really looks like or feels like, especially if they've lacked good role models while growing up. Unknowingly, they compare the attributes of God the Father with their earthly father (or others who have not loved them well). Others struggle to receive God's love because they feel guilty or unworthy.

Here's some good news: despite your failures or perceived imperfections, God cares about you. He accepts you.

No matter who you are or what you've done, God's amazing unconditional love and forgiveness reaches everyone. You just need to make the choice to reach back. And when you do, you'll discover the love of God that changes everything.

So, let's unpack what God's Word, the Bible, says about His love so we can grasp it, grow in it, and share it with others.

Grasp God's Love
Years ago, I had a very distorted image of God's character. I pictured Him as a high-powered executive in a tall swivel chair with His back toward me. I could only enter His presence when I had something really important to say, and I had to speak quickly or He'd get mad. It was a fear-based approach.

Then, I learned the truth.

I discovered that He is loving and forgiving, compassionate and kind, merciful and just, wise and wonderful, and so much more. My eyes and my heart began to open. God is not only loving, He IS love. God cares about every aspect of your life. You can come to Him any time, and He is always there.

How do we know God loves us? He shows us and He tells us in His Word, the Bible.

God loved us first. The apostle John said, "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10). In this profound and sacrificial act of sending His Son Jesus to earth to pay the price for our wrongdoings, God demonstrated ultimate love. There is none greater.

God shows His love in myriad ways: in the spectacular beauty of creation, through His living Word, the Bible, and through answered prayer. He opens doors, and gives us favor. He daily meets our needs.

God loves you. He created you. In fact, you were God's idea! He gave you the gift of life, lovingly crafting you in your mother's womb with your unique character, intellect, personality, and features.

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…" (Psalm 139: 13-14)

After all God has done for us, the most natural response is to love Him back. To worship Him, obey Him, serve Him, spend time with Him—and enjoy Him!

When we begin to grasp God's love, we can continue to grow in that head knowledge and heart experience.

Grow in God's Love
How do you grow in God's love? By being "rooted and grounded" in it. Similar to a plant or tree having deep roots so it can grow tall and bear fruit. Ephesians 3:17-19 gives us a beautiful picture of growing in God's love:

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be
filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

Being rooted in God's love means that when the winds of change and challenges blow, you won't topple over emotionally like a tree with shallow roots. You will stand strong in life's storms.

Growth happens as you read God's Living Word, the Bible. As you do, you get to know God better—who He is, what He's done, and what is yet to come. In addition to reading the words, think on them, absorb the truth, and let God's Words seep into your heart and life.

In time, "fruit" will appear in your life, just like growth comes to fruit trees with deep roots. Your crop will be the Fruit of the Spirit: "…love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23)

When you are rooted and grounded in God's love, you know that:

Even when you make mistakes, God loves you. His love is unconditional and forgiving.

Even when you feel unacceptable, God accepts you.

Even when no one will listen to you, God always longs to hear what's on your heart.

Even when others walk out on you, God is totally committed to you. He will never leave.

God not only loves you. He likes you! In fact, you were His idea. Our Creator crafted you in your mother's womb into a human being with a mind to think and reason, with your unique physical makeup, emotions, personality, and more.

Share God's Love with Others
When Jesus was asked which commandments were the greatest, He said we are to love God and love others.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)

Knowing and experiencing God's love gives us the capacity to love others to a greater extent. Because when you know God loves you, you're growing in that love, sharing it with others, and then you begin to live a life of love.

My prayer is that God will continue to reveal His great love to you as you seek to put Him first. When you do, you may just be surprised by how you're more empowered to love yourself and love others.

"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know him better." Ephesians 1:17

***

Coming up: In the next post, "Love 101: Learning to Love Yourself", you'll learn about the freedom and peace that will arise as you learn to love and accept you who are.


Jackie M. Johnson is an author and blogger who writes inspiring content on growing a better life, the power of prayer, and encouragement for singles. Jackie has a heart to encourage single adults of all ages, and she has led numerous small groups and Bible studies for singles. Her books include the breakup recovery guide, When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton Is Empty, Power Prayers for Women, and Praying with Power When Life Gets Tough. Connect with Jackie at JackieJohnsonCreative.com.