A few days ago, I was sitting on a bench in a restaurant, waiting for a table to be available for me and my family (who were playing a game outside). I was sitting there, legs crossed and silently praying, when I heard a voice say, “Excuse me, Ma’am?” I looked up to see a young man—who seemed to have appeared from nowhere—standing in front of me with baggy jeans, a backpack, a walking stick, and a dark beard. I replied simply, “Yes?” Then he said to me, “I just want you to know Jesus loves you.”
I was so surprised I could only think of one thing to say in return, “Yes. Jesus loves you too!”
He nodded with a knowing smile then said, “Have a good day, sister.” And off he walked, disappearing almost as suddenly as he appeared.
I sat there misty eyed, grateful to my God who “went out of His way” to tell me He loves me on a day I was especially needy to hear it. He knew.
Sometimes you and I just need someone to tell us how much Jesus loves us. And it is my unspoken privilege to to be the bearer of such good news in your life today as well.
JESUS LOVES YOU
Friend, Jesus loves you. Profoundly. Profusely. Longingly. Fiercely. Passionately. Significantly more than you know. More than I know.
In a world where the song “Jesus Loves Me” is known by so very many, the wonder of this truth threatens to fade out because of outlandish familiarity with the saying. But let’s dare to be a generation obsessed with fanning its truth back into flame within us.
Today, we’re going to discuss how to not only believe He loves us, but how we enter into the sublime love affair of our very lives.
HE WAITS AT YOUR BECK AND CALL
One of the most startling realizations I’ve come to in the past year is how Jesus literally waits at our beck and call.
Do you know that the moment you pray, He hears you? The moment you look to Him, He knows you’re looking. The moment you trust Him, He’s ready to prove trustworthy. The moment you abide in Him (John 15), He lives in and through you. Jesus is so obsessed with you, He doesn’t ask you to hold off praying until He first finishes a task. He’s so intimately involved and present in your life, that the very moment we choose to acknowledge Him, to respond to Him, to abide in Him is the very moment He responds to us.
The only way such attentive care is possible is if One is waiting at our beck and call. And He is! He is obsessed with us, friend. Utterly smitten by us. He came for us, died for us, and He lives for us still (John 14:19b). He endlessly longs for—waits for—a reciprocal relationship with us. He’s done all to receive you to Himself and live in personal, interconnected, ongoing, intimate relationship with you. He only waits for us. One faith-glance His way, and all these begin to become reality in our lives. I’ll say it again: they simply hinge on our response to Him.
AFTER THE HEART OF GOD
King David of the Old Testament was called by God “a man after God’s own heart”. Upon studying the
Psalms he penned, I’m fairly convinced that at least one reason for this title is because David was highly responsive to God. He longed for God. Pined for Him. Prayed, sought, and yearned for His heart to become his own heart. He longed for intimate relationship with Him. He wrote, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God…” (Ps. 42:1-2). God was waiting, David was yearning… so intimacy between them took place.
God has always been waiting for people to simply turn and look at Him. He’s here, looking at us, waiting for us. Ready for us. To set us free from slavery, to bring us into sublime relationship with Him, and to bear much fruit through us.
Because He loves us deeply, profoundly.
HE LEFT EVERYTHING FOR YOU
You were worth everything to God. He created you to have you as His, to know you. Forever. And then He sent His Son… Jesus left the perfect, beautiful, glorious presence of God to save you, and therefore gain you as His. All this so He could live in sweet union with you forever. Friends, this is true love.
As familiar as we are with the phrase “Jesus loves me”, we are nearly just as familiar with the concept that Jesus left heaven to be born a human to save us. Therefore, we have need to open up this subject once more and unpack the exquisite love hiding behind familiarity.
JESUS GAVE ALL TO GAIN YOU
Romans 8:3 says, “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh…” Try to fathom for a moment, the voluntary condescension of God to send His own Son to live encased in weak, cursed flesh-and-bones upon the cursed, enslaved Earth (Romans 8:20-21).
When Jesus came into “the likeness of sinful flesh”, that is, into a body like ours, He came to dwell within a tent, so to speak, that was privy to the voice of Satan. Since we became trapped in weak “suits” privy to the voice of Satan, so He chose this way too. In order to be a new “Adam”, that is the first of a new race of humans, He had to become a human. Of course, He was a God-human. He was tempted, as we are, by the voice of Satan… yet He remained without sin (Heb. 4:15). That is, He never gave into the lies, the temptation, of Satan. But human, indeed, He became.
The first Adam sold all of humanity to sin-slavery under Satan by receiving a lie as if it was the truth. This was a spiritual transaction. The sale was made in the thought-life, in the human spirit of Adam (stay tuned for my forthcoming series, Walking in the Light, where the details of this transaction are laid out in detail). Similar, but counter to this, Jesus bought humanity out of slavery by remaining perpetually in the truth in His inner man—never trading it for the lies of Satan. He lived on earth intimately connected to and dependent on God, constantly listening to His voice, constantly receiving it as truth, constantly responding to, speaking, and even acting according to all He heard from God. Even to the point of death on the cross.
Jesus came into the spiritual war-zone of earth, lived on the front lines, won every battle on the front lines. And just when it seemed He had lost the final, greatest battle of all, by dying on the cross, He actually powerfully overcame death itself. Doing so released the devil’s access to speak to Him, cancelled the curse which made His body perpetually weak, and resulted in filling up His once emptied-of-glory vessel full of the very glory of God (Rom. 6:4b). This glory-filling raised His lifeless body not only back to living and breathing and walking as a human, but to living and breathing and walking as a glorified human—the very state He came to bring us into forever.
ETERNALLY OBSESSED WITH US
He didn’t do this simply for Himself. If He lived for Himself, He never would have become a human to begin with. He already had and lived in perfect union with God. He did this for one singular reason—to gain us. He came here, came into a fallen, enslaved human flesh-suit, suffered unimaginably, because He’s always been obsessed with us—with all of humanity. With every nation, tribe, tongue, and language of mankind. Obsessively in love with and longing for intimacy with us from the beginning. For this reason He came to rescue us from slavery and death in the race of Adam, to transfer us to His free race, intimately united and filled with the Life of God Himself.
Love. It was all for love.
“For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16)
THIS LOVE IS FOR NOW
This great act of love took place long ago, but it’s purpose and power has never ever ended. This great act of love was for now and here. For every day that has passed since that day passed. What He became (human), and what He did (died for us) was so that human beings could live from planet earth in oneness with God, as Jesus now lives from Heaven in oneness with God.
Because of our spiritual transfer from the authority of Satan (in the old race of Adam) to the authority of God (in the new race of Christ), though we remain in earth-suits for now, the Holy spirit within us can now overcome every temptation, every command, every deceit of Satan spoken to our flesh. Not only can we overcome darkness because we’re spiritually in Christ, but most lovely of all, we can live in glorious union with God Himself. We can hear He Himself speak words of lavish love to our hearts, hear His perfect wisdom and guidance for every moment of every day, and receive His power to live and do what only He can live and do through us. It is often said when a baby is born, “Babies are miracles.” In the sense that a new human has come into fruition, they are miracles only God could instigate. Yet, the greater miracle is when the human being, originally born into slavery to Satan, believes Jesus is her/his Rescuer from slavery. This simple persuasion of the heart, this faith, causes us to be born from above as a “new creature” in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), filled with the Spirit of God, intimately united with God. We become God-creatures because God comes to reside in us.
This miraculous new life within, this union with God, gives us potential to live in and from a great love-affair with God. In fact, this is the greatest love affair possible for the human soul. Yet it all hinges on how we respond. God has done literally everything to gain and love us. But He never forces us to respond to and receive His lavish love. It’s in our hands, in our free will, to choose Him. To receive all from Him. “…to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that [we] may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” (Eh. 3:19)
A CHALLENGE TO RESPOND
And so friends, today, I challenge you to do as Paul said he did in Phil 3. I’ll let you read his own words below:
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ… (Phil. 3:7-8)
Our terrible enemy lies to us and fools us into thinking that all that earthly life provides for us and our hearts is better and more wonderful than what we could ever have in God! He fools us into thinking that the Christian life is about religion—that is, ritual and rules… and, indeed, who wants these? He knows that if he can get us to think this way, then he can keep us from the abundant Life and amazing relationship with the living God through Christ Jesus that really is Christianity.
So the challenge I leave you with today is 1) to be persuaded that Christianity is not about religion, ritual, and rules, it’s about vibrant relationship and union with the living God through Jesus Christ, 2) to be persuaded that life without this vibrant, abundant relationship is severe loss, and 3) I challenge you, as you embrace these convictions, to respond to the living God who is waiting for you to turn and seek Him. Long for Him, desire life with Him, desire His Life in yours, and simultaneously seek Him with all your heart. Relentlessly
CHRISTIANTIY IS A JOURNEY
If this challenge leaves you feeling burdened and like you can’t possibly “attain” to this sublime relationship with Him, or like you don’t know where to start, take heart friend. The Christian life is a journey in which we start as infants, grow into toddlers, and, as we continue to seek Him, grow all the way up into mature, strong adulthood. Resist all temptation to feel ashamed at wherever you may be on this journey today. There is no shame in where you are, no matter what age you are. Shame is simply another tactic of our enemy to put a wedge between us and finding our abundant Life in and relationship with Christ. No. He is here, not shaming or condemning you, but longing for you. May your heart be stirred today to long for Him. Seek Him dear friend. Simply never ever quit seeking Him.
‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. ‘I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 29:13-14)
This is a promise you can count on.
Because Jesus loves you so very much!