Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write an INSPIRATIONAL or DEVOTIONAL piece (04/26/07)
TITLE: Just Because
By Susan Gibson
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We have trouble accepting God’s love because we feel we don’t deserve it. We know salvation is not by works, but somehow that “worksy” idea wangles its way into our thinking. If we’re honest with ourselves, we don’t experience God’s love all the time, and then we panic, thinking we’ve done something wrong and caused Him to temporarily withdraw His affection. And if He withdraws His affection because He is displeased with us, then it follows that we must have screwed up and need to fix it, as if any good we can do will suddenly make us deserving. See where the “worksiness” comes in?
Do you feel guilty when you miss your daily devotions? Do you feel guilty because you don’t even have daily devotions? Do you look at people in your church and envy them, wishing you could have their spiritual gifts? Do you beat yourself up, convinced you are the worst sinner in the history of the universe?
Moses tells the people of Israel in his final address to them, “The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you.”(Deuteronomy 7:7,8a NIV) Moses is saying it wasn’t because the Israelites were inherently lovable that God loved them and claimed them as His own. One way I like to read this passage (although perhaps not literally correct) is: “Do you know why God loves you? It’s nothing about you that makes Him love you, not your size or strength or spirituality. He loves you… because He loves you!”
It’s easy to look at God’s choice to love us as something He felt compelled to do, gritting His teeth and rolling up His sleeves in a kind of grim determination, as if He’s only doing it because He knows it’s the right thing to do. The Hebrew word for “set His affection” means “to be attached to, love, have pleasure in, delight in.” He consciously chose to love you; you bring Him pleasure and delight. If you’re all tied up in knots, convinced that God can’t or won’t love you because of everything that’s wrong with you, you can unwind. “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love.” (Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV) It’s all up to Him, every bit of it.
He has chosen to love you. He is absolutely committed to you, no matter what your spiritual condition. He’s never dismayed or surprised at your sin. Do you think He’ll only be able to love you when you’re perfect? Who makes you perfect? Who is moment by moment transforming you by His grace, whether you feel it or not? Our transformation is not simply for our own good; it makes us into beings who will someday have perfect communion with Him. And He did this all through the life of His son, Jesus. If nothing else, Jesus’ sacrifice should convince us of how seriously God takes His commitment to us. He’s in this for the long haul.
God makes us fit for heaven and wants us to be able to enjoy all that we will experience there. But I think He’s waiting right now in eager anticipation for our arrival because of how attached He is to us. Remember, we bring Him pleasure and delight!
So don’t wonder if God loves you or ask how it’s possible that He does. He loves you because He loves you; it’s that simple. He paid a huge price for you; He’s never going to let you go.
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