I received a timely email a couple weeks ago from FaithGateway (Devotionals Daily). In it was an excerpt from Lysa TerKeurst’s Made to Crave devotional. She talked about doing things because you’re loved, not doing things to get love. It was a total perspective shift for me, one that I’m still wrestling through. I don’t have to do things to be loved or get love… I can do them because I am already loved. I can find motivation in the love that God has for me, not in the fleeting hope that I might earn love through what I do.
Romans 8 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture that talks about the love of God.
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 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 us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us 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 we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 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 us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:31-39 (NIV)
“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us — who was raised to life for us! — is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing — nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable — absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” – Romans 8:31-39 (MSG)
There is a phrase in verse 38 that says “For I am convinced…”
I began to reflect… Am I really convinced? Am I absolutely convinced?
I love to dig a little deeper into the Greek definitions. The word for convinced is “peithō” and it means: to be persuaded, to be induced to believe, to have faith, to listen to, obey, yield to, comply with, to trust, have confidence, be confident.
Am I confident that He loves me? Have I been persuaded to believe that He loves me? Am I absolutely convinced that nothing can come between me and God’s love? Does my life reflect that truth? Am I motivated in all that I do by His unfailing love? Are my faith and trust and hope in Him?
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” – 1 John 3:1 (NIV)
“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it – we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.” – 1 John 3:1 (MSG)
God is the very best Father – and how great is the love that He has lavished on us. It’s easy to remember that love, to feel that love, when things are going well… when we’re living “the blessed life”. But what about in those hard times, the difficult seasons, when it seems like God is nowhere to be found? Is His love still present? Or have I been separated from it?
He gently leads me back to Romans 8… who can separate me from His love? What on earth can do it? Can trouble or hardship? Hatred or hunger? Can the devil remove God’s love from me? Can the regrets of yesterday or the worries of tomorrow?
NO! We are more than conquerors! And I am absolutely convinced that not one thing in all creation can separate us from God’s love – “because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”
When God looks at us, He doesn’t see our sin, our filth, or our shortcomings. He sees His beloved Son. He sees the sacrifice on the cross, the ransom for our lives, and the love that motivated it all. That love is perfect, that love is powerful, and that love can never be taken from us.
I want to live my life in view of His love, His mercy and grace. I want to live absolutely convinced. And I want to carry His message of love with me wherever I go.