Sharing the love of God is one thing, but receiving God’s love is another. I had spent many years of my life trying to love – God, family, friends, etc. To be honest with you, I found it to be a real struggle.
Why? Why did it feel so hard to love? Was it because I really didn’t love myself? Love your neighbor as yourself, right? Or maybe it was because I never received God’s love for me first? Hmm, that had not crossed my mind then. But that was it! It was a struggle because I was trying to give away something I didn’t or thought I didn’t have. I was trying to love in my own strength, to no avail. To me that was like trying to pour water out of an empty bottle.
See, even loving me was difficult because I had yet to receive God’s love for me personally. How was I supposed to know how to love others, if I didn’t allow God to love on me first? His love could only be expressed through me as I received love from Him.
I also realized that God was not going to force His love on me. I had to want Him to love me. I had to open my heart or really remove the wall of religion and hurt that I held around my heart for so long, and invite His love in. God is a gentleman and not an intruder, so He wasn’t going to force His love into my heart.
As much as God so desires to lavish us with His love, He cannot violate our will. He is love and His love for us is a gift, but just like a gift, we can either receive it or reject it.
My encounter with God’s love happened almost 11 years ago. Mind you, I have been a believer in Jesus Christ for a little over 23 years. But I really began experiencing His love for me in a tangible way within the last 11 years.
What hindered me from experiencing His love sooner, was how I viewed and what I believed about God at that time. There were moments when I didn’t think God loved me or that I even deserved His love. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Well, I never had a lot of faith to come for God’s love because it wasn’t taught or shared as much then as it is now. So, I was left to think that God did not love me for whatever reason, or maybe He did. I even read my bible and prayed at times with that same mindset.
Thanks be to God, His love has totally set me free from the lies of thinking and feeling unloved. Now I see why it was hard for me to give away love. Now I see why the enemy fought my relationship with God so fiercely. It was because he did not want me to awaken to the truth of God’s love for me in my heart. But in order for me to release that love to others, I needed to receive His love first.
Sounded selfish didn’t it? But it wasn’t! I was bound through religious thinking and could not see the love God had poured into my heart. It was already there, but I could not see it. I was not free, and was of no help to anyone else.
I began to humble myself more and more and allow the Spirit of God through His word, to persuade my heart of God’s love for me. I am becoming more established in His love. Chains over my thought life and areas of my soul are being broken because of embracing God’s love.
What’s also beautiful about the love of God is that the more He shows me how much He loves me, the more He shows me how much He loves others. How God sees me is how He sees others. It’s not difficult to love me or other people now. Why? Because I’m not giving away or freely sharing the love of God with others in order to get them to love me back. That’s not love, that’s manipulation. God is my Source of love, not people. People are recipients of His love through me. Some will receive it and some won’t. I’ve learned not to take it personal.
Beloved, we are never without God’s love. His love is a steady flow to us and through us and it never runs out. He loves us just that much, and it’s not based on our performance. He is just that good!
Now, am I saying that loving people is not a challenge at times for us? Of course not! There are challenges here and there when we encounter people in our lives. It’s all a part of living in this fallen world where no one is perfect. But when you truly encounter God’s heart for them, you will find that He deeply loves everyone. No one is left out. No one! And as valuable and as precious as people are, we don’t have to place more value on what they think about us than what God thinks of us.
If walking in God’s love comes as a struggle for you, maybe you are having a hard time receiving God’s love for you. Maybe not! Sincerely pray about it and ask the God to show you your heart, and He will. Begin to embrace His love for you, bringing healing and restoration to your heart where needed. Then over time, watch how you’ll be able to love God, you and others effortlessly.
Every week I will be recommending a great read that I have read and believe will be an encouragement and life-changer for you as it was for me. I believe this book will encourage you in your journey of experiencing God’s love for you even more.
My first choice for this week is “Discover True Love” by Author Meintjes. His revelation of God’s love for people will amaze you. Please check it out here.
Until next time, remember that you are greatly and intensely loved. Blessings!