How to Feel God's Love for You
How to Feel God's Love for You
Robbie Williams’ evocative lyric in the song ‘Feel’ echoes the deep longing of the human heart: ‘I just wanna feel real love’. God wants you to feel his love for you. He wants you to accept his love in your heart. You can receive his love in a new way today.
I remember an occasion when our grandson, aged two, wanted to feel his father’s love. He raised both hands in the air and said, ‘Hugga Dadda’. My son picked up his son, lifted him into his arms, embraced him, kissed him and hugged him. It is a wonderful thing to hold a parent’s hand but an incomparably greater thing to have their arms wrapped around you. This is an illustration of the experience of God’s love.
You know that God loves you through the cross: ‘God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8). You experience God’s love through the Holy Spirit: ‘God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us’ (5:5).
‘The whole Bible,’ St Augustine observes, ‘does nothing but tell of God’s love.’ Father Raniero Cantalamessa writes: ‘This is the message that supports and explains all the other messages. The love of God is the answer to all the “whys” in the Bible: the why of creation, the why of the incarnation, the why of redemption. If the written word of the Bible could be changed into a spoken word and become one single voice, this voice, more powerful than the roaring of the sea would cry out: “the Father loves you!” (John 16:27). Everything that God does and says in the Bible is love, even God’s anger is nothing but love. God “is” love!’
God’s love is great and personalPsalm 86:11-17
When you know the greatness of God’s love for you the response is worship: ‘I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever’ (v.12).
David knew it was the love of a personal God who cares for each individual. He writes, ‘For great is your love towards me’ (v.13a). Like David, you are God’s ‘dear, dear child!’ (v.16, MSG).
It is God’s nature to love. ‘But you, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love’ (v.15, MSG). He prays, ‘Make a show of how much you love me’ (v.17, MSG). He prayed, in the light of God’s love for him, for an ‘undivided heart’ (v.11b). He wanted to respond to God’s love for him by committing himself totally to God.
Lord, you are compassionate and gracious, abounding in love and faithfulness (v.15). Thank you that your love for me is so great and so personal. Give me an undivided heart.
God’s love is demonstrated and poured outRomans 4:16-5:11
Do you believe that God really loves you? God’s love will never let you down; he will never stop loving you. His love for you is greater than your failings and he wants you to receive his love by faith.
Contrary to what many people think, God loves you and wants to give you life. He gives ‘life to the dead’ (4:17). God raised Jesus to life from the dead. One day all who have died, in Christ, will also be given resurrection life. In the meantime, Jesus said that he came so that you might experience life, and life in all its fullness (John 10:10).
Paul continues to describe Abraham’s faith. Abraham believed God’s promise that he and Sarah would have a child, even though it was no longer a human possibility.
We learn of Abraham that ‘no unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God, fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised’ (Romans 4:20–21, AMP). In other words, Paul reiterates, Abraham was justified by faith.
But justification by faith was not only for Abraham, ‘but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness – for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead’ (v.24). You too are justified by faith. ‘The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set right with God’ (v.25, MSG).
Paul moves on to speak of the staggering consequences of this fact. Because you are ‘justified by faith’, you have ‘peace with God’. You have ‘gained access’ to his presence (5:1–2, MSG). You can draw near to him and speak to him each day, knowing that there is no barrier between you and him.
‘There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles’ (v.3, MSG). We can rejoice in our sufferings: ‘Because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us’ (vv.3–5).
God’s love has flooded your innermost heart. This experience of God’s love is deep and overwhelming. It is the regular ministry of the Holy Spirit to help you feel God’s love. If you have never had this experience of the Holy Spirit filling your innermost heart, I would encourage you simply to ask God to fill you now.
Paul has still more to say about God’s love. He says that even when you were against him, he sent Jesus to die for you. ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (v.8).
The essence of love is giving. The more the gift costs and the less the recipient deserves it, the greater the love involved.
This is how you know God loves you. The Father allowed his only Son to be taken from his embrace and sent to the cross. Even though we did not deserve it – we were ungodly sinners – Jesus died for us. God did not spare his own son. He loves you that much.
If God loves you so much, you can be certain that your future is secure. ‘If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life!’ (v.10, MSG).
Lord, thank you that you love me so much that you died for me. I ask that you would, again, pour your love into my heart by the Holy Spirit, and help me to feel your deep love for me.
God’s love and griefAmos 6:1-7:17
Do you know that God’s anger is nothing but love? Here we see an example of that. God’s anger is directed towards ‘complacent’ leaders (6:1):
‘Woe to those who live in luxury
and expect everyone else to serve them!
Woe to those who live only for today,
indifferent to the fate of others!
Woe to the playboys, the playgirls,
who think life is a party held just for them!
Woe to those addicted to feeling good – life without pain!
those obsessed with looking good – life without wrinkles!
They could not care less
about their country going to ruin’ (vv.4–6, MSG).
It is not so much that they enjoy the good things of life – none of which are sinful in themselves. Rather, it is because they don’t care about the state of the people of God. God hates pride and arrogance (vv.6,8) that fails to acknowledge our need of him and keeps us from experiencing his love for us and loving others as he loves them.
If the leaders had loved God’s people as God loved them, they would have grieved over their country going to ruin.
Amos was an example of someone who did care and did do something. He interceded for the people (7:1–6).
Amos was an ordinary person: ‘I never set up to be a preacher, never had plans to be a preacher. I raised cattle and I pruned trees. Then God took me off the farm and said, “Go preach to my people Israel”’ (vv.14–15, MSG). God was not content to simply watch injustice flourish. He loves his people too much for that. He raised up Amos to warn them of the consequences of what they were doing and to call them to turn back to his ways.
Like Amos, let’s pray and intercede for our nation:
‘Sovereign Lord, forgive!’ (v.2). In your great love, have mercy upon us. Thank you that you love your church and that you have power to bring life to the dead (Romans 4:24). Lord, we pray that you would raise up more people who hear your words and speak them with courage, power and love.
‘You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on your couches.’
The chance would be a fine thing!
Verse of the Day
‘Great is your love towards me’ (Psalm 86:13a).
St Augustine, De Catechizandis Rudibus 1,8,4; PL 40, 319, quoted in Raniero Cantalamessa, Life in Christ (Liturgical Press, 2002) p.7.
Raniero Cantalamessa, Life in Christ (Liturgical Press, 2002) p.7.
Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers, ‘Feel’, from Escapology (Chrysalis, 2002).
Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.
Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)
Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.