But now, this is what the Lord says . . . “. . . I have summoned you by name, you are mine. . . . you are precious and honored in my sight, . . . because I love you . . .” (Isa 43:1, 4)
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jer 31:3)
It’s a hole I have to keep stepping out of — the tendency to equate God’s approval of me with my how I rate my discipleship. The idea that He will love me more when I accomplish more isn’t biblical, but it seems to be culturally ingrained somehow. The connection between doing and approval is strong, and for many of us, it takes a lot of overcoming to realize that love, like salvation, can’t be earned. It can just be accepted and marveled at for the gift that it is.
It helps when I realize that I don’t love my own children for what they accomplish. I love them because they’re mine. I can be proud of them or concerned for them, but the love doesn’t change.
It’s easy to confuse our need to be loved with the need to feel worthy of love. I’ve struggled with the need to feel acceptable in order to feel accepted. I have in fact said to God, “If I were You, Lord, I wouldn’t put up with me.” God has helped me realize that kind of thinking is counterproductive, a hindrance to our relationship. It’s a performance review, and not an appropriate response to His unconditional love for me.
The truth is that God doesn’t love me if, He loves me because — just because I belong to Him.
Thank You, Father, for Your love that never lets me go. Help me, I pray, to hold on to that truth as securely as You hold on to me.