1 John 4:19, "We love each other because he loved us first."
How many of you know the song "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know"? This is a song that many children learn at a young age. When I was little, I remember learning this song myself.
1 John 4:19 has been the verse that has been on my mind the last day or two. I have kept thinking about God's love. After growing up hearing about how much God loves me, I often brush off hearing about His love as if it's not a big deal, but in all actuality, it is a HUGE deal!
Something was brought to my attention this week. I was doubting God's love for me.
This may sound crazy, but when I took a look at things, I realized that this was the case.
There is a preacher named Joyce Meyer who said a few things on this subject, and I believe they're worth repeating. One of the things she said in her sermon was this. She asked everyone, "How many of you believe that God loves you?" Everyone clapped and cheered in agreeance, but then she said something shocking. She said, "No, you don't." Then she shared something that God had spoke to her heart at one point. What God impressed upon her heart was that if people really knew how much He loved them, they'd act a whole lot differently than they do.
As I listened to this sermon, I realized how true that was, but this week, it became even more real to me.
There were moments this week that I struggled emotionally and wondered where God was and why He wasn't doing things the way I wanted Him to. I was lonely. Some disappointing things occurred, and I found myself feeling unloved and unwanted... even though I knew in my head that wasn't true.
Today, God stirred in my heart to write this devotional. He reminded me of another thing Joyce Meyer shared about Jesus' disciple John. John wrote the book of John. This is interesting because in the book of John, he refers to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loves. I don't know about you, but when I first heard this, it almost sounded like John was full of himself. What Joyce said, though, was that Peter always went around saying how much he loved Jesus, but he was the one who denied Him. John, however, was the disciple who actually was there at the cross when Jesus died. She talks about how when we know how much God really loves us, it strengthens us.
When I ponder 1 John 4:19, I realize that when I don't know how much God loves me, it is impossible for me to love other people. When I was so down in the dumps feeling alone, I didn't reach out to others and love them. Rather, I wanted God to send someone to love me. I was self-absorbed, and all my strength was sucked out of me while I remained in that pit.
Thankfully, God didn't leave me there to rot. Instead, He began reminding me of His love for me. He reminded me that I am the apple of His eye. He impressed upon my heart how precious I am to Him, and as He continued to pour His love out on me, I began to receive strength back where I could finally love again. No longer did I see me not getting my way as Him trying to hold out on me. I now could see how He knows what is best, and if what I'm asking for is not His very best, He isn't going to give it to me. It isn't that He is withholding blessings from me. He just sees the bigger picture and knows what will be for my very best.
When I finally had my focus straight again and stopped buying into the lies of Satan that God didn't really want what was best for me, I was delivered from my pit of despair.
Maybe John knew something that we need to learn for ourselves... how much Jesus loves us. It can no longer be a simple phrase we use of, "Oh yeah... I know God loves me." We need to claim His love and realize that it's real.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I realized this week that I had started to doubt Your love for me. I looked at my circumstances to base Your love off of rather than looking at You. Thank You for reminding me of how much You really do love me. Help anyone else who feels alone, unwanted, or unloved, and give them revelation of Your love as well. Then, help them take that love and share it with a lost and hurting world. In Jesus' Name.