If you really believe what you say you believe, it will affect what you do.
Have you ever wondered if God really loves you? Have you thought to yourself or perhaps stated it out loud; why would He love someone like me? Have you asked yourself this question in the last year? The last month or week? Did you ask this question of yourself today?
I believe that as men we want and desperately need to feel like God’s much loved sons – that He knows what we’re going through, that He loves us in spite of ours sins, and that He cares – really cares – about us personally.
This is a difficult concept for many men in the church. We believe that God loves us but we don’t believe He could ever like us. Twisted, I know. We are taught from infancy that God is love, He loves everyone and on and on. We see His love as part of His character, his very essence. However, we are quick to dissect that part of His being that would say that He would genuinely like us. That His knowledge of what we are going through is not just informational or factual but intimate understanding. He gets us. What we think. How we think. Why we think what we think. That it’s personal for Him when it comes to us, to me, to you.
Patrick Morley, in his book, Man Alive, recounts an exchange with a friend where he relates that he, Patrick, is convinced that God loves him and what’s more He delights in him, is pleased with him and genuinely likes him. His friend looks at him like he has three heads and states that he, the friend, could understand that God could love him but never that he liked him.
How foreign is this thought to you in your life? Most men feel the way Patrick’s friend felt. God loves me but He could never like me. I’m too flawed. He could never like someone that does and thinks the things that I have done and thought. Sigmund Freud used the term “morally despicable” to describe this feeling. We know too much about ourselves and not enough about God’s grace. I tell people often that I’m a generally self-aware kind of dude. I’m brutally honest about myself with myself. I am keenly aware of my faults and motives. I don’t self delude on that topic, but I’m just as guilty as the next man of believing I can separate God’s love from His grace and care for me. In fact, this is impossible. God cares deeply about me, about what I am going through and He wants me to know that He doesn’t just have answers for the problems but that He has my back as well. He is my friend. He likes me in spite of how I treat Him.
What does God’s word say on this? More than I have space or time to write about here, but here are a few just to prove the point.
1 John 3:1 “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.”
1 John 4:10 “This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”
Romans 5:5 “For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.”
1 Peter 5:7 “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he Cares about you.”
So if I believe that God’s word is true and that what He says to me in that word is real…I can know that he loves me. So let’s say you’re there. There’s one more key question: Can you really ever fully trust God to take care of you? As Morley says in Man Alive, “It’s one thing to believe that God loves you as one among many. It’s another thing altogether to trust that God knows what you’re going through, that He cares, and that He has the power and desire to watch over you personally.” This is the crux of the issue for men in this relationship with God.
It is my belief that I can. If I look at past experiences and remember what He has done just for me then that should, could be enough. If I take God’s word and use that as proof alone then I have that to rely on. If I look at those around me and take their testimony as being sincere then that should be enough as well. All of that together is what I am taking into account. For me, right now, I am becoming more and more convinced that God loves me. That He delights in me and that I am pleasing to Him. What’s more, that He genuinely likes me.
If you really believe what you say you believe…..
God, help my unbelief.
Believe and trust. God cares for you. He does love you. He does like you. He really likes you. Come home.