It certainly is no secret that a new baby in the house upsets the applecart for parents as well as for older siblings.
It sometimes is a stressful time with the older siblings wondering if Mom or Dad have enough love to go around. This is especially true given the emphasis (rightfully so) on the newborn baby which has now taken the place of priority over that of the older children. “Mom, do you still love me with all your heart? You love me more than the baby, right?” Of course Mom would respond that she loves both the children with all her heart. Then she is asked: “How can you love both of us with all your heart – you have 2 hearts?” Math and biology have now become real issues!
We smile at the question, but as adults, don’t we sometimes wonder how much we are loved, whether it is by our spouse or our children or our friends? Sometimes, during hard times, we even wonder if God still loves us … if He did, surely He would have prevented “X” from happening. [You fill in the blank.]
When it comes to God, I think the answer to how much God loves us is encapsulated in the saying:
“There is nothing that I can do to make God love me more than He does; and there is nothing that I can do to make God love me less than he does.”
I believe that this saying captures the definition of divine security. Human love is strong, but it is sometimes fairly conditional. Not so with God. Scripture teaches that His love for me began even before I was born and it will continue throughout eternity. I did not earn it, I did not merit it, and I cannot lose it.
In Psalm 139, the Psalmist describes God’s creation of his being and the intimacy of God’s knowledge of him personally.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
Psalm 139:2-4 [NIV] (Emphasis mine)
The Creator of all things knows me so intimately that He knew the number of my days even before I was born, before I “came to be”. Further, He knows what I am going to say, even before I say it! [That thought is difficult for me to even put into a post – praise Him for forgiveness!]
The scope of God’s knowledge of us and of His love for us is beyond my comprehension; I can only bow in thankful praise and abject submission to this God of love who sent His Son to be my Savior.
The depth of His love is shown by Calvary and the tomb; and, His power over death is shown by the Resurrection!
Philippians 2:8-11 describes Jesus’ sacrifice like this:
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [ESV]
Praise the Lord that He has reached out and has adopted us into His family, by faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. We are children of the Sovereign Almighty God. We are members of God’s family, and we are sisters (and brothers) of the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. See Romans 8:15-17.
There is no question that God loves His children. His love is more than sufficient for His children; it is perfect and guaranteed by the Holy Spirit. We read in 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 that:
And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. [ESV]
Thus, the real question is “Do you love Jesus?”
Jesus asked this very question of Simon Peter, the disciple who often seemed to put his foot in his mouth before thinking. The impetuous Peter had affirmed his devotion to Jesus in the Garden before Judas and the guards came … then, during Jesus’ “trial”, he denied that he knew Jesus, not just once but three times.
After the resurrection, Jesus was with Peter and he asked “Do you love me?” three times – paralleling Peter’s three denials. The story is told in detail in John 21:15-19.
Peter said that he did love the Lord and Jesus’ response was to direct Peter to “feed my lambs”, to “take care of my sheep”, and to “feed my sheep”. [NIV] In other words, saying you love Jesus is not the end of the inquiry … you have a job to do. In Peter’s case, it was to be a missionary feeding, caring and tending for the Lord’s sheep, and ultimately dying a martyr’s death.
That may not be what Jesus calls us to do … but He does call us to do something for which He will equip and provide direction and strength.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10 [ESV]
So, how much do you love Jesus? Enough to obey Him? Enough to be a witness for Him wherever you go?
Father, help me to be a witness for my Lord. Give me strength when I think I cannot go on, and give me wisdom to know when I should simply express love. Help me to let Jesus shine through me in all things for your glory and praise.