Updated: Jan 27
Jonah 4: 2
Why do we feel like God couldn't love us? And when I say "us," I mean that we individually ask, "How can God love me?"
This is one of the reasons I wrote my new book and video series, "Live Like You're Loved." We suffer from an epidemic of negative self-image that causes us to feel unloved, unforgiven, and worthless. Part of the reason for this epidemic is that we misunderstand who God is and how He could love us.
Oh, there are plenty of other reasons we may hold a negative self-image. After all, the world is constantly telling us we're not good enough. Advertising tells us this, either because we don't own their product that we "need," or we don't look like the model in the commercial. We get that message of not being good enough when we're the last one picked on the playground, or passed over for a promotion, or didn't get into the college we wanted. Perhaps we didn't live up to a parent's expectations, and it felt like that parent withheld love from us as a result.
It would be great to turn to God, our creator, for love, but that can seem like a cold trail, because we misunderstand God. I see two main reasons for this.
First, we think of God in human terms. We know how difficult it is to love certain people and even harder to forgive others. We figure that God must also having a difficult time loving and forgiving people who are flawed. Worse, since God sees all and knows all, He doesn't just know a few of our flaws - He knows them all! So you might think, "How can God love and forgive me when I'm such a mess?"
Second, we don't believe deeply enough in God's grace. We over-rotate on acknowledging his sovereignty. We know that God works to achieve His perfect plan. His sovereignty also means that He judges us according to His perfect criteria. We respect, even fear, God.
Yet God is the ideal Father who balances his sovereignty perfectly with grace. God is also the lover of our souls, who loves us dearly in ways we can only barely imagine when we think of tender parent-child relations. Further, God is merciful and compassionate.
The prophet Jonah knew this about God; in fact, it's one reason Jonah tried to escape prophesying in Nineveh, but wound up being swallowed by a great fish and being rerouted to Nineveh anyway! He complains to God in Jonah 4: 2 that he knew all along that God would proclaim judgment on Nineveh but would cancel their destruction once they repented:
I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.
We misunderstand this compassionate side of God. This is why I produced "Live Like You're Loved." Yes, we must acknowledge God's sovereignty. But in the book and video series, I focus on the other problem, that we do not acknowledge God's love, we do not trust it, we do not embed it in our souls, and as a result, we actually do not live as God intended us to live!
How does God intend us to live? What would the result be if we trusted in God's love, not with head knowledge, but with a heart knowledge that sticks in our souls? The question is, what would your life look like if you truly lived like you're loved?
That is the topic for this Friday's 7-Day Practical Faith blog, so please check here again to read further.
These blogs can only scratch the surface of the entirety of the work, "Live Like You're Loved." It's a book for you to read individually or with a group. It's also a video series that your group can watch and discuss. You can dive deeper with a Participant's Guide that allows you to further process the concepts with activities, questions, meditations and Bible study. Learn more about the full range of offerings at CecilTaylorMinistries.com. For just the printed materials, you can also find them in these links at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Dove Christian Publishers.