God is love…There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear; because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:16,18
Fil Anderson knows what it’s like to live in fear. For years he felt driven to earn God’s approval. That drive took him all the way to the door of a psychiatric unit, where he got his first glimpse of grace. Yet as soon as he left, the old patterns began again. Serving as a pastor only further drained him as he told others about the love of God and yet often felt as if he could never experience it himself. He reflects on this in his book Running on Empty: Contemplative Spirituality for Overachievers.
My default nature is set to believe that God’s acceptance, love, and care for me is directly proportional to my level of activity for God. This belief system–the more I do for God, the more God will love me–has dictated my every waking activity more than anything else. And it has threatened to starve my soul.
Fil lived in fear of what God would do unless he earned His approval. When Fil discovered unconditional love, his world changed forever. He says, “Nothing I am capable of doing will ever cause God to love me more…And nothing I ever do will cause God to love me less. That idea used to sound like madness to me. Then I realized that, in a way, it ismadness.” God’s extravagant love makes no sense to us because we try to make it about us. We compare it to human love, which is conditional. So we try to earn, deserve, or win it in some way. But God’s love is different from ours. God doesn’t just give love–He is love.
As women, we are experts at earning the affections of friends, lovers, children, and our families. Coming face-to-face with a
God who loves us unconditionally sets us off balance. It’s much easier to believe, “If I go to church and read my Bible, God will love me.” That makes us feel safe because it seems we can control God’s love. What if it’s not true? Then the deepest desire of every little girl and grown woman can never be a reality. We watch Cinderella and hope for our own version of living happily ever after. But life disappoints us, and God is our last chance to be fully, deeply loved. So we do everything possible to please Him because even though we’ve endured many rejections, His would be unbearable.
But God is whispering the words to our hearts we long to hear if only we can dare to believe them: “You are loved–deeply, truly, always.” That’s the kind of crazy love that set Fil Anderson free, and it’s ours as well. God invites us to take His hand, trust His heart, and believe that the only love we’ve been searching for all our lives is the love we’ve already found.
You are loved
Read 1 John 4:13-21. Who has influenced your view of God’s love for you?
How is God’s love different from human love?
Describe a time in your life when you sensed God’s love for you.
Lord, Your unconditional love for me is more than my human heart can completely comprehend. I pray You will lead me into more of Your love and open my eyes to truly see it. I ask for Your help to…
Step outside for a moment.
Let’s look up at the infinite blue.
That’s how much God loves you.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is His love for those
who fear him(Psalm 103:11).
When’s the last time the sky got lower?
Oh, sure, the clouds come in…
busy days, hard times, storms.
but they’re only illusions
because the sky stays just as high.
Regardless of how it seems,
Regardless of what we do,
It’s the same when it comes to His love for you.
It’s never any less, never any lower.
It remains steady, constant, endless as the heavens.
So tell your heart this secret:
His love won’t let you down.
And anytime you need to remember that’s true…
just look up.
Written by Holley Gerth “God’s Heart for You” Embracing Your True Worth as a Woman
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