I don’t think we can remind ourselves too often about how much we are loved by our Father, and how that should inspire us to love those around us. If I could be the vessel by which someone else feels the love of God- that is truly the highest honour I can imagine having on earth.
1) I am fearfully and wonderfully made by a perfect, perfect God.
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
– Psalms 139:14
“I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well”. (v. 14)
I can’t get over how beautiful those words are. How can I feel inadequate when I remember that we, too, are shaped by His own hand, made after His image, and so undeservingly yet so dearly loved by Him.
Reflections from a sermon on Oct 2, 2016:
“A baby is precious simply by virtue of its very existence. Why should the definition change when we get older?” Learnt quite a lot at church today, and that sentence stood out. Our self-confidence is linked so closely to what other people think of us and our appearance that we often let it become the yardstick by which we measure our self-value. Although it is inescapable that we live in a world of judgement, God calls us to be in but not of the world. We just need to remember that we are all made by Him and we are precious and beautiful in His sight, not for anything we’ve done but because of His love for us. He loves us simply because we are. We don’t have to try and live up to anybody’s standards or the world’s standards, because as long as we walk with Him we have the assurance that we are beautiful and that we are loved.
2) I am valued by Him.
“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.”
– Isaiah 43:1-4
I posted part of these verses on my Instagram spam account (v. 2-3a) when I was having an extremely hard day. I’d had a bad water day (which in canoe-speak means I had a really terrible training). Plus, I’d just been assigned the role of captain of canoeing, but instead of feeling honoured and determined to do my best, I was just filled with terror and self-doubt, especially since I’d never actually held any leadership position and had basically lived my Secondary school life with perpetual feelings of inadequacy. I was so terrified my team was going to do badly because of me, and I never actually got over that feeling. But looking back at the passage, maybe what I should have been reading is the second bit:
“I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.”
H E L O V E S M E S O M U C H .
He gives Egypt as my ransom. He gives empires in exchange for my life, because we are precious in His eyes, and honored. “And I love you”. And I love you. Such a powerful statement. No conditions attached. He loved me when I felt like a failure. He loved me when I felt the most alone. He will always love me so much more than I could ever, ever, ever, evereverever deserve to be loved by anyone, least of all Him. Yet, I call Him father and friend.
Self-doubt, trepidation, inadequacy are still are there. But in the midst of it all, the words of the Lord stand as the most beautiful promise He could have ever made- I love you. It would be worth so much, so much to be able to go to Him, kneel at His throne, and hear him say those words directly to me. And I will know I am home forever. Loved for an eternity by my God.
“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
“I have called you by name, you are mine”. Thankyouthankyouthankyou
3) Christ has paid the ransom for our sins, and we will one day be with Him.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
– Ephesians 2:4-7
Enough can never be said about Christ’s sacrifice, and the overwhelming love for the Father that prompted Him to save those so unworthy to be saved.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 used to seem super cliché, but things become clichées for a reason. This verse holds the most fundamental truth of the Bible, upon which the entirety of our faith is built. If John 3:16 was not true, there would be no reason for me to believe myself loved. And, having felt God’s presence in my life, that truth is, for me, unassailable. I am and will forever be so grateful for the love and mercy shown to me, someone wholly undeserving, that enables me to love myself and others around me. That He could love the unlovable is something which used to blow my mind, but which now simply makes me thankful, thankful, thankful.
4) He has promised me an eternity by His side.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.””
– Revelations 21:3-4
This verse (ironically) makes me tear up sometimes when I read it. To imagine such a perfect world is completely beyond comprehension, but then again, so is God. Forever is an extremely long time to be happy.
“He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” This promise is so inexpressibly beautiful, and the words themselves seem to breathe peace into my soul.
That’s my favourite line from the song “牵我的手”. Just imagining walking into Heaven to hear God say those words- it makes everything seem so worth it. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” My grandmother is eternally free from pain. All the Christians who have suffered unspeakable tortures rest at his feet, exalted and as certain of his love in the life eternal as they were in this one.
5) As I have been loved, so I must love others.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
– 1 John 4:7-8
One of the things about knowing you’re loved by God is that you immediately want to love others. God’s love is not a selfish, exclusive love- it’s a love that demands to be shouted from every mountaintop and shared with every single person on the street.
God is love. God is love. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. How can I hate others when God loves me? How can I see others as unworthy of my sullied, imperfect love when I’m basically drowning in His perfect love for me every single day?
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
– John 13:34-35
By this all people will know that you are My disciples.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
– Colossians 3:12-17