The #1 Struggle for Christians (do you know what it is?)
Today’s post is one of the most important I could share. Please read until the end. Share it with someone who needs the truth it contains.
I’m pretty sure I know the single biggest issue Christians grapple with.
How could I possibly know our biggest struggle? Because I’ve heard the same universal thread whispered by pastors’ wives, and prodigal daughters, and everyone in between. Here’s a hint:
It’s not a behavior, it’s a belief.
Want to know what it is?
“I just can’t believe God loves me.”
Why is it we can readily believe God loves the world, or God loves our friend, but we hesitate to believe He loves me?
Is it because we know our performance doesn’t live up to His perfection? Or because we’ve distanced ourselves from God and assume God has distanced himself from us? Or because life is hard, and hurts weigh heavy, and we wonder if God even hears our prayers?
Is it because we think God doesn’t see us, much less love us?
Why do we listen to the voices of lies when we could listen to the voice of love?
Whatever the reason, the belief that God doesn’t love me simply isn’t true.
Yesterday I prayed through one of Jesus’ last prayers, recorded in John 17. Jesus prays for himself, his disciples, and–get this–YOU.
20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message…23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. (John 17:20,23 NLT)
Pause and let this truth sink in: The night before His crucifixion, Jesus Christ prayed for you. Jesus prayed that you would know God loves you just like the Father loves Him.
Whaaattt??? Could this be true? Could God the Father actually love you and me like He loves the Son?
According to Jesus, the answer is “yes”.
Of all the things Jesus could have prayed the night before his death, He took time to pray that you would know God loves you.
But what if you’re thinking, I know I should believe God loves me, but I don’t know how to believe God loves me. Candidly, I’m still learning to know God loves me, too.
Here’s What I’ve Learned About How to Grasp God’s Love:
1. Ask God to Help You Accept His Love
Jesus prayed you would know God loves you. Why not ask the Father the same thing Jesus asked the Father: that you would know He loves you?
Jesus isn’t the only one who prayed that believers would understand the depth of God’s love. The apostle Paul prayed for it, too.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17b-19)
2. Hold On to What God Says
It’s one thing to hear God loves me, it’s another thing to grasp God loves me. Paul prayed we would “grasp” God’s love (Ephesians 3:18). When we grasp something we wrap all five fingers around it tightly so it doesn’t slip through our hands.
Too many of us let God’s love slip right through our fingers.
Eight months ago I became “Gigi” to Hallie Claire Jones. At eight months, Hallie is learning to grasp Cheerios. She sees them. She wants them. But she isn’t always successful at grasping them.
We are so like Hallie. We see God’s love. We want God’s love. But we aren’t always successful at grasping it.
But we can learn.
Did you know it takes 20 seconds for a thought to become ingrained in our minds? So if we repeatedly listen to the lie that says God couldn’t–God wouldn’t, God shouldn’t–possibly love me, is it any wonder we struggle to embrace His love?
We wrap our fingers around the lie, not the love.
If we think about God’s love for 20 seconds, we begin the process of wrapping our fingers around the love.
And we release the lie.
3. Listen to What God Says, Not What Anyone Else Says (including yourself)
No doubt, Hallie will eventually learn to grasp Cheerios with ease, and it will become second nature for her. But for now, she’s still learning. She has to focus. She has to try, and try again. She must listen to the voice of her parents assuring her she’ll soon learn how to grasp.
If she doesn’t listen to her parent’s voice, she might get discouraged. She might give up. She might come to believe the grasp is beyond her reach. But it’s not.
We must listen to our heavenly parent’s voice, too.
It’s easy to listen to the voice of the world, the voice of the enemy, or even the voice in our own head, whispering lies like, “You aren’t good enough for God to love you”, or “This circumstance is happening because God doesn’t love you”. But that’s not what God says.
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39)
My friend, God loves you. God loves me. It’s time we stopped letting the truth slip through our fingers.
It’s time to wrap all five fingers around God’s great love. And grasp it.
Listen to the love, not the lie.
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You are loved (you really are!),
“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1 John 4:10)
Lord God, Please open my heart so that I can grasp how very much you love me. Help me accept the fact that Jesus died for me because He loves me. Help me remember that when it would have been so easy for Jesus to focus on His own needs before His crucifiction, He focused on mine. God, thank you for loving me. Thank you that you loved me long before I loved you. I need your love and I recieve your love. Help me live–really live–in the reality of your great love for me. Amen.
- Pray that God would open your heart so you can understand how deeply He loves you.
- Listen to what God says about His love for you. Refuse to listen to the voice of lies; listen to the voice of love.
- Meditate (think about, mull over, ponder, praise, thank) about the truth that God loves you. Say it out loud. Write it down. Spend 20 seconds allowing yourself to receive the love of God. Wrap your hands around His love and don’t let go.
- If a relationship with God is new to you, or if you’ve felt distant from God recently, you might want to read Donna’s book, Seek: A Woman’s Guide to Meeting God.
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