When I know all the “right things”, and have all the Bible verses on hand, and have listened to sermons, and have read books and still can’t seem to get it together… I’m finding that my overwhelm is generally rooted in an embarrassingly low view of God’s love for me. I believe it for everyone else, 150 million percent. But I can’t get my heart to believe it for me. Because it just doesn’t make any sense. How could all these things that he declares be true of me when I am still such a mess and still such a wretched sinner?
And further – how could I possibly believe God’s fierce limitless love for me if I don’t even love myself?
But this is who he is.
The deepest, most natural, most reflexive piece of his character. He loves his people. He loves to love his people and loves to pour out his mercy and loves to come in and embrace.
God loves us. Collectively, yes. But individually – as if we were the only one.
As I read “Gentle and Lowly”, by Dane Ortlund, I realized, I will never be able to overestimate God’s love for me. I will never stand before him in Heaven and regress, “I guess you didn’t love me as much as I thought you did.” It will be so wildly the opposite. Where we will stand before God, entirely undone by his goodness and beauty, and be completely exasperated by the uncapped measure of his love.
And that is precisely what I mean when I say that “nothing has given me more confidence in my position in Christ than learning more and more about who He is”. Because the more I learn about how good and generous and merciful he is, the more I realize he just might mean it when he says he loves me. He chose me. He makes me holy. And the more I can’t help but declare his praises with all my might.
Sing it: Reckless Love, Cory Asbury – It’s so worth the 11 minutes, but he shares his story behind the song at minute 7. “His love bankrupted Heaven for you, for me.”
Scripture: Luke 15:1-7
To those who are hurting, to those who are doubting: spend time with Jesus. Pour out your heart to him – tell him everything you’re believing about who he is and how he sees you. And listen. Open up his word, use scripture included in these posts, linger over Psalms, or turn to any story that the Spirit reminds you of. And then, stay there, with Him. Stay with Jesus for as long as it takes to start believing the things he has said. And continue by his side, trusting as he leads you along.
We couldn’t have cared less. We were weak. Sinners. Enemies.
It was only after the fact, only once the Holy Spirit came flooding into our hearts, that the realization swept over us: (Jesus) walked through my death. And he didn’t simply die. He was condemned. He didn’t simply leave heaven for me; he endured hell for me. He, not deserving to be condemned, absorbed it in my place – I, who alone deserved it. That is his heart. And into our empty souls, like a glass of cold water to a thirsty mouth, God poured his Holy Spirit to internalize the actual experience of God’s love…God’s love is as expansive as God himself. – Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly