There's a scripture that's been on my heart for quite some time, and a couple of weeks ago a portion of it was tweeted to me by one of my Twitter followers. She had no idea that I'd been meditating on that particular scripture, so I know it had to be the leading of the Holy Spirit. It's Ephesians 1:4-5 (NLT) and it says, "Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure."
I've read this passage of scripture every day for the past few weeks, and each time I am overcome with emotion because, to me, it speaks of the unconditional love God has for us. I knew in my heart from the first time I read it that I had to share it with you. I believe that God wants His daughters to be reminded of the sincerity of His love towards us.
Here's what has been on my heart.
1. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us...
That's so amazing to me. Before anything ever existed, God loved us. Not only did He already love us, but he also chose us. This is telling me that God, who knew everything about us –good, bad, and ugly - before we were ever formed in our mother's womb, (Psalm 139:16; Jeremiah 1:5) decided to love us in spite of it all. Despite the fact that He already knew we'd have hangups; meltdowns; attitude problems; addictions; struggles; shortcomings; insecurities; fluctuating emotions; and everything else that we believe makes us unlovable, God looked beyond all of that and said, I love her and choose her to be mine. Wow! Now that's unconditional love at its finest. There were definitely times in my life when I wondered how in the world God could love someone like me, but I'm glad to know that His affection for me isn't based on whether or not I'm His cup of tea at the moment.
God's love is not contingent upon our goodness, or any qualities we may or may not possess, but strictly based upon the fact that we are His creation, His children...point blank, period. We don't have to coerce Him; we don't have to force ourselves upon Him; we don't have to pretend to be something that we're not; and we don't have to wonder if His love is real. You are sincerely loved and chosen by God simply because you are His daughter. And when He looks at you, no matter where you've been or what you've done, He sees you holy and faultless through the blood of His son Jesus Christ.
2. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family...
In everyday life, we get to choose who we will allow to become a part of our circle, or family. Before giving someone permission to get close to us, we may watch them for a while to see if we like the type of person they are. We examine their character, personality, and habits, and from there decide if we share any commonalities. If we like what we see, we'll let them in. On the other hand, if we aren't too fond of what we've observed, that person won't become a part of our inner circle. Sure, we'll love them as Christ commands, but it's not likely that they'll be at the Christmas dinner with the family. We should be glad that God isn't this way.
In advance – despite what He observed about us – God welcomed us with open arms into His royal family through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Again, it has nothing to do with our own goodness, or lack thereof, but everything to do with the infinite love He has for us.
3. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.
There were many times I asked God why He loved me, and now I can imagine Him saying, Because I want to. How wonderful is that? So often, especially as women, we go through life trying to make people love us, when they simply don't want to. Because we want their love so badly we alter ourselves, give our bodies away, or settle into relationships we know aren't good for us. Who really wants love that has to be manipulated or forced? That's not love at all.
But there's nothing like the kind of love that comes from a person who simply takes pleasure in loving you. You don't have to force it, it just comes naturally. That's the way God loves us...naturally, sincerely, pleasurably.
God knows every detail of your life. He knows where you've been, where you are, and where you're going, and He yet loves you. Nothing about you will ever cause Him to stop loving you, because He loves you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3) It's an unchanging, unfailing, unconditional, perfect love, and nothing will be able to separate you from it. (Romans 8:38-39)
I don't care what your life looks like, what you've done in the past, or what you're struggling with right now, God is madly in love with you, and it's been that way long before the foundation of the world. You are His chosen, and it gives Him great pleasure to love you.
When no one else loves or chooses you, God does. Never forget that. Open your heart and embrace it.
I'll leave you with a prayer I love prayed by Paul in Ephesians 3:16-19. "I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God." In Jesus' name, Amen.