My friend Terrell, who was in a music group with me in Europe back in the 80's, sent this to me after reading one of these posts. I thought it was fantastic, and he agreed to let me share it.
I read your blog post about God loving us, and it reminded me of something. Last November, I went to the Be In Health, For My Life Course at Pleasant Valley Church in Thomaston, Georgia, [ http://www.beinhealth.com/public/FMLOverview ]and here is part of what I learned there:
Probably the most foundational thing I took away from the course is the belief that God really loves me a lot and wants the very best for me. I was never really able to believe this the way I do now. I remind myself of this every day, often several times a day. I firmly believe that believing God really loves me a lot is foundational to worship, sanctification, and good mental health. God of course tells us many times in the Bible that he loves us. There is one particular passage that almost has my name written it, because when Jesus says in John 17:20 to his Father “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word,” he is most definitely talking about me. He goes on to say that “thou [the Father] ... hast loved them [including me, as per verse 20], as thou hast loved me [Jesus],” and that “thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” So God the Father loves me in the same way he loves Jesus, before the foundation of the world.
There are four major prayers by Paul for others in his letters. They are in Ephesians 1 and 3, Philippians 1, and Colossians 1. In one of these prayers, the one in Ephesians 3:14-19, in language that is somewhat difficult to understand, I believe Paul is praying that his readers would believe that God loves them, that they would understand how great this love is for them, and that they would know this love that God has for them, as much as it is possible to know such love that even passes knowledge. He finally prays that they would be filled with all the fullness of God. I believe that when we are filled with the belief, understanding, and knowledge that God really loves us a lot and wants the very best for us, there is no crack through which any evil can get to us from the outside.
Before I believed that God really loves me a lot and wants the very best for me, I was unable to tell God my Father that I really loved him. I felt unworthy to do so, and felt like I would be hypocritical to tell him that, because I thought I did not come anywere near the love I have should have for him. Now I think the real reason I was unable to tell him I loved him, was because I was not convinced that he really loved me. Now I am convinced that he does really love me, and I can freely tell him every day that I love him.
I think that the belief, understanding, and knowledge that God really loves me a lot is a foundation for worship, sanctification, and good mental health. It is a foundation for worship, for how can we really worship God in spirit and in truth if we do not really believe that he loves us a lot? With regard to sanctification, how can we truly obey God out of a pure heart if we do not really believe that he loves us a lot?
The apostle John writes in 1 Jn. 2:15-16:
“15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
I have discovered that if I really believe that God loves me a lot, I am not going to go looking to fill the void from not feeling loved by going to these things in the world. It started way back in Genesis 3 that Adam and Eve doubted God’s love for them, sought a replacement for that love from another source, and hid themselves from him.