I love God. I really do.
In spite of how I fail.
And in spite of how passages like this make me feel…
If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. – John 14:23-24
Jesus’ words make sense. Love must be translated into action if it is going to be real in the real world.
For God so loved, He gave... is our prime example of the very real need for action-love.
But that understanding doesn’t help me much when I’m down on myself for NOT keeping Jesus’ word.
His word is a HUGE standard to keep. A standard I really CAN’T keep.
Not enough to consistently obey Him.
Not enough to follow through on my good intentions.
Not enough to live out the perfection His holiness requires.
And that’s where it doesn’t matter if I love God – but whether He loves me
And He does.
His love for me doesn’t ignore my sins and failings and inability. That would be unjust (and He cannot be unjust).
He looks directly at my sin, and hates it completely.
He hates that I don’t love Him, that I don’t obey Him, and that I don’t have it in me to do either one.
He hates my sin (in action and in being) because it offends His holiness.
He hates it because it has twisted me into a hideous representation of what He first created, a perversion, a grotesque exaggeration that obscures His image in me.
Mine and yours… if we will receive it.
THAT is love. God’s love.
It’s the love that we need to revisit daily to remind us Who has redeemed us.
It’s the love we need to marinate in regularly to restore and regain the idea of what we were originally intended to be.
It’s the love that can heal our insecurities, remove our soul-sickness, and restore us into vessels that carry His image to the world.
Then and only then I am able to say, “I love God,” and be confident that it’s true.
Because God Himself has made it true.
Do your children love God?
The question’s not so simple anymore, is it?
It’s not a matter of sentiment, or feeling, or good intentions, or naive childish imitation.
It’s not about Sunday school attendance or how many worship songs they can sing (in their oh-so-cute way).
It’s about redemption. Your children need redemption.
Unless their soul is transformed by the power of God’s redemption, they will become self-deluded by their church attendance and memorized Bible verses.
How do you lead them there?
1. Through your example of genuine, redemption-fueled love for God.
2. Through regularly telling them your redemption story (I was blind but now I see).
3. Through consistently teaching them about God’s great love for them.
Anything beyond that is God’s turf.
God can be trusted with your precious ones.
He is full of compassion and mercy.
He hates their sin.
He hates what it’s doing to them.
He will do what is good – in every case.