"I am little."
"I am scared."
"I am ugly."
"I am a basketball player."
"I am unqualified."
"I am NOT good enough."
"I am depressed."
I could go on, but I'm sure you get the idea...I haven't always had a positive view of myself. I've struggled with my looks, my ability and my purpose. Friend, maybe you can say the same. If so, I'm here to tell you it doesn't have to be that way.
Lately, I've found myself thinking about completing this statement with a different word - LOVED. My friend and one of my favorite Bible teachers, Wendy Blight, will soon be releasing her new Bible study and I'm greatly looking forward to it. The book is titled, "I Am Loved - Living in the Fullness of God's Love" and I'm sure God will use it to point readers to His transforming Truth.
I have yet to do this study, but God is using it before I even turn a page. The other day I got to thinking about the title and I was reminded of my struggle. For years, I was able to recite John 3:16 and knew other verses that spoke of God's love, but I didn't understand or experience it in a personal way.
Nearly 4 years ago as I studied Wendy's first Bible study, "Living So That" my thoughts started to change and my mind was renewed. Wendy pointed out how John was the disciple that Jesus loved and went on to share, "Oh that we would have that confidence to unabashedly speak those same words: "I am the girl Jesus loves!!" I reread an old post and noted how in the margin of the book I wrote, "I've never said that."
Thankfully, God did what He does when we spend time in His Word...He changed me from the inside out. I no longer doubt His love for me and I don't feel like I have to earn it. I understand I don't deserve it, but I experience it and am so grateful for it.
Today in Sunday School I heard this statement, "I won't understand who I am until I know who God is." Without a doubt I can say that is true! God is the One who created me, He knows me and has much to teach me not just about life, but about myself. This simple truth has me excited for Wendy's new study; as I learn about God's love, I'm sure to learn about what His love can do in and through me as well.
So, now I'm thinking about a new fill in the blank activity -
Since I am loved by God, I ____________________
Stop with me for a minute and think about this. Have you experienced God's love? If so, what difference has it made in your life? A few answers instantly come to my mind - I am forgiven (John 3:16), I am chosen (John 15:16), I am victorious (Romans 8:37-39) and I too can love (1 John 4:7).
I'd love to hear your answer, so leave a comment below. I also know my answers can increase, I can learn more about God's love, experience it better and share it more powerfully. Friend, so can you! I'd love to invite you to a little preview of Wendy's new study...you can sign up for a wonderful 5 day devotional that will not only excite you for her book, but more importantly immerse you in God's Word. Learn more HERE.
That sounds like a simple little conversation, but it should be a picture of our great God. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, but friend our knowledge of and relationship with Him can change. It can get better, we can know Him more! What a great thought with a new year on the horizon! What would your life, your relationships, what would you look like if your understanding of God's love grew? I can't say exactly, but the word "better" comes to mind.
I'll give you a jumpstart and share a few powerful verses about the love of our Heavenly Father -
The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. (Jeremiah 31:3)
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1)
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18)
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the love you lavish on us. For loving us while we were still sinners. I am grateful that your love changes me. Help me understand that better and experience it more. I am not worthy of your love, but so grateful for it. Fill me with your love so that I can love others like you love me. Father God help me love you with all my heart, all my soul and all my mind. I thank you for your steadfast love that endures forever. In Jesus' Name, Amen.