February 14, 2010

To Live is Christ — knowing I am loved

I’m glad that we can express love every day, not just Valentine’s Day, yet having a special day is a good reminder to say the words and show others that we love them.

It is also good to be reminded of the love of God. It seems to me that Satan’s favorite lie is “God doesn’t love you.” Because human beings are so bent on being worthy or doing something to earn it, even the slightest failure on our part makes us think that God no longer loves us.

Human love might be like that. If an object of our affection begins acting like a jerk, falling out of love could easily happen. But God’s love is not like that. It does not depend on what we do, but on who He is.

Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

1 John 4:10 adds, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for our sins.”

Even as a Christian who knows these things, sometimes circumstances make me think that God does not love me. When the enemy of my soul whispers those negative thoughts in my head, the Bible tells me how to answer his lie:

What, then, shall I say in response to this? If God is for me, who can be against me? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give me all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for me. Who shall separate me from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”No, in all these things I am more than a conqueror through Him who loved me. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus my Lord. (Romans 8:31–39, my personalized paraphrase)
It has been said that actions speak louder than words. The action of God taking on a human form and dying for my sin speaks loudly. He demonstrated His love, not merely speaking it, but proving it. After all, what does “I love you” on a Valentine or candy heart mean if there are no actions to back it up?

Yet He speaks it too. He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3) and His Word is filled with many other declarations of His love. Not only that, His Spirit affirms His Word as He leads and guides me through life and fills me with songs of praise.

By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me — a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalm 42:8)
We send cards, say those loving words, eat chocolate, and express love to spouse, family, and friends. I’m happy for those relationships, yet I’m happier still that Jesus made the decision to be my Valentine and I never need to wonder if He still loves me.

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