There is a song by Kirk Franklin called “Love.” Among identifying many Biblical descriptions of the word, the lyrics also include the exclamation, “I’ll never know why You love me.” I think this is a common question for Christians.
It’s significantly easier to identify the answer to the opposite, to why we love Him. There are several songs about that, too. (“Oh, how I love Jesus because He first loved me.”)
But why did He first love us?
Of course, the nature of the question really becomes deeply rhetorical the longer we think about it. It might even become a little frightening or depressing to think about. What is there for Him to love about me? Why would He continue to love me? In human situations, this type of realization might even lead to the dissolving of a relationship. Kirk Franklin is right; we’ll never be able to fully comprehend the depth or origin of His love. There is, however, a comforting start to the answer to be found in His Word. Here’s what I’ve discovered.
He made you.
He calls you His “masterpiece” (Ephesians 2:10).
Have you ever worked arduously and meticulously on something? Aren’t you proud of it? Even if it did not turn out the way you intended, don’t you feel a sense of pride in it? You may also be a little defensive of it if others do not share your admiration. You love it because you made it.
This applies to God as our creator. When He made mankind, He said it was “good” (Genesis 1:31). God created us out of His love, as objects of His love. Even after the “fall” (Genesis 3), which went against His intentions, He continued to love us.
He said that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). That means that He was intentional, that He took His time on you. He does not regret making you, and He made no mistakes in doing so. He takes pride in His creation.
You look like Him.
The Word says that you and I are “made in His image” (Genesis 1:27-28). Scholars have debated the true, concrete meaning of this phrase- whether it applies to physical appearance or spiritual ability, or something else altogether. What is undisputed, though, is that He made us to be like Him.
Parents can understand this. Even when your offspring is getting on your last nerve and making the biggest messes, there’s something about looking into a face that looks like yours. It’s hard to stay upset with a face like that. It’s hard not to love a face like that.
Even if you feel like you’ve messed up so badly that you no longer resemble your Creator in the least bit, you still do. Its something of an inescapable trait. If you dye your hair or get colored contact lenses, there remains some semblance of your biological parents. Even if you get major plastic surgery and change your name, there are some inherent characteristics that are undeniable.
This is how it is with God. You came from Him, and you belong to Him. Because of this, you resemble Him. You and I and all mankind are different from every other creation. The Bible conveys that we are the only ones with this characteristic; nothing else was meant to resemble Him like we were. That makes us special.
He said He would.
As Chris Tomlin’s song reminds us, God is a “good, good Father.” It’s simply who He is. Good fathers love their kids; it’s what they do. I don’t think anyone would dispute that, no matter their own experiences with their fathers. When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, that sealed my identity as a child of God. Out of love, God adopted me into the family, and I gained access to a full inheritance.
The crazy thing, though, is that even before this, even while I was still in a place of rejecting Him, He loved me (Romans 5:8). Because God is all-powerful, nothing can stop Him from doing anything- even loving us.
His Word says that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38). This means that there is no mess-up so bad as to sever His love for you. That’s what He declared, so that’s just the way it is.
For me, it’s helpful to remember that love is not a feeling, but a choice. (I elaborated on that in another post. You can click here for a recap.) It seems that a common tactic of the enemy is to try to convince us that God is so mad with us or disappointed in us or so in disagreement with us that He no longer feels love for us. This is easy to believe because that’s how we, as humans, tend to operate. We deal out love based on feelings. Once a feeling disappears, so does the love.
God doesn’t operate that way.
First of all, He’s not mad at you or disappointed with you; nothing you do surprises Him.
Secondly, even if He were to feel contemptuous toward you (which, again, He doesn’t), that wouldn’t stop Him from loving you. God has feelings, but He does not tie His love for us to them. He doesn’t love you because of a feeling; He loves you because of a promise.
That’s comforting to me. His love for me is not based on anything I do or say, and there’s no way for me to stop it. He has locked in His love for me, and it will never fade away.
You don’t have to worry about God’s love running out on you. His love flows from His heart and His Word, both of which are eternal.
Photo Credit: Ian Kiragu
CULTIVATE A HEART OF THANKSGIVING
Subscribe and receive your free 31-day Gratitude Journal