“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
When God inspired Jeremiah to write these words, He meant them for the whole nation of Israel, not only Jeremiah. And when He gave the people of Israel this message, many of them were living lives that did not please Him. Some of them were even worshipping idols instead of God, but He still loved them and promised to keep on loving them forever.
Many of us seem to think that we must somehow earn God’s love by doing things that make Him happy. But that kind of thinking is wrong. Yes, God is pleased when we choose to obey His commands and follow the principles He has given in His Word. But His love for us does not change because of things we do or don’t do. If you are God’s child, He loves you now, will love you tomorrow, and the next day, and forever – because of Who He is, not because of the way you behave.
Chelsea had a hamster named Rascal, and his name was all too fitting. Rascal was always trying to escape from his cage! Often, he would bite Chelsea and anyone else who tried to hold him or pet him. One time, Chelsea worked hard to earn some money so she could buy Rascal a special ball for his cage. Because he tried to get out so much, she thought he would like to have the freedom to run around inside the ball. But after Chelsea had spent all her hard-earned money to buy him this gift, Rascal just sat still in the ball, refusing even to budge.
Chelsea’s family watched all that she did for Rascal – cleaning out his cage, buying toys for him, spending time with him, holding and petting him (when he would let her), and often getting bitten or scratched for all her efforts. They told her that Rascal was just not a good pet. In fact, Chelsea’s mother offered to take Rascal back to the pet store and see if they would give her a different hamster, one that would respond better to all that Chelsea tried to do for him. But Chelsea said, “No.” You see, Chelsea loved Rascal. Her love for Rascal did not depend on his being lovable, or upon his loving her back.
Wow! It is amazing to think that Chelsea, who is just a sinner just like the rest of us, could love Rascal (who is, after all, just a hamster) with a love like that! But if she can love a hamster with that kind of unconditional love (love that does not have to be earned) like that – how much more do you think our perfectly loving and compassionate Father God loves us? Chelsea’s love for Rascal is just a tiny little love when compared to God’s great love for us. But just as Chelsea’s love for Rascal did not depend in his being a “good pet,” so God’s love for you does not depend on your being a “good person.”
In fact, God gave us His greatest gift of love, not because we are good people deserving of His goodness, but because we could not be good people apart from Him. Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth [shows] His love toward us, in that, while we yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus died for us so that we could be made righteous (good and right in our character and actions), not because we already are righteous. And God continues to love us and do good things for us. Why? Because He is a good and loving God – not because we are good and loving people. If you are trusting in the God of the Bible as your Father and Savior, nothing you do will ever change His love for you. He loves you now and forever, no matter what.
God loves you because of Who He is – not because of who you are.
» Do I try to earn God’s love, or do I believe that He loves me no matter what?
» Do I truly trust in God’s love, or do I worry and fret about how He feels about me?
» Do I show the same kind of unconditional love (love that does not depend on someone else’s actions or words) to others that God shows to me?