The root cause of all our spiritual problems lies in our not knowing God as a Loving Father and a Sovereign God. One truth that has revolutionized my Christian life is the glorious revelation that Jesus gave us that the Father loves us just as He loved Him.
Jesus prayed to the Father, “.....that the world may know.. that Thou didst love them, even as Thou didst love me” (Jn.17:23). Jesus prayed here that the world around us might know this truth. But it has to grip our hearts first, before the world can realise it. All Christians believe theoretically in a loving Father in heaven. But the fact that they are often worried and anxious and so full of insecurity and fear proves that they don’t believe it deep down in their hearts. There are very few who would dare to believe that God loves them as much as He loves Jesus! None of us could dare to believe such a truth if Jesus had not plainly told us that it was so. Once your eyes are opened to this glorious truth, it will change your whole outlook on life. All murmuring and depression and gloom will vanish from your life altogether. I know this can happen, for it happened to me.
I lived in bondage to depression for many years and was defeated. That was not God’s will for me; but I just couldn’t break free from it. Things have been different for me ever since my eyes were opened to the truth that God loves me just as He loves Jesus. I now see that everything that comes my way has come from the hand of a loving Father. I’ve seen that He cares for me as the apple of His eye; and so no circumstance in life can ever make me grumble or get depressed now. I have learnt, as Paul says, the secret of being content and praising God in all my circumstances.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!......Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”(Phil.4:4, 11).
“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”(1 Thess. 5:18).
This is now the unshakable foundation of my life: GOD LOVES ME AS MUCH AS HE LOVES JESUS.
It’s not because you don’t fast and pray sufficiently that you are not entering into the victorious life. Victory comes not through self-effort, but through faith. “Faith in what?”, you may ask. Faith in God’s perfect love for you. Many believers live under the condemnation of Satan who keeps telling them, “You are not fasting enough. You are not praying enough. You are not witnessing enough. You are not studying the Bible enough, etc., etc.” They are constantly being whipped up by such thoughts of self-condemnation into an endless round of activity and into a multitude of dead works. Do you realise that all your self-discipline, fasting, praying, tithing and witnessing are dead works, if they do not originate in love for God? And they cannot originate in love unless you are secure in God’s love first.
Paul’s prayer for the Christians at Ephesus was that they might be rooted and grounded in the love of God. “...that He (God) would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love.....”(Eph. 3:16, 17). The Ephesian Christians were already converted and baptised in the Spirit. Yet they needed to be strengthened by the Spirit in the inner man so that they might be rooted and grounded in God’s perfect love for them, understanding the length, breadth, height and depth of that love. It was only after that that Paul went on to speak of the gifts by which the body of Christ can be built up. “To each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.......And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ...”(Eph.4:7,11,12).
That perfect security in the love of God must be underneath us always. We must be rooted and grounded in it, if our ministry is to be effective. Elsewhere, the New Testament speaks of this as “entering into rest”. “We who have faith (in God’s perfect love for us) enter into His rest”, the apostle says (Heb.4:3). He then urges us to strive with all our hearts to enter this rest: “Let us be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience” (Heb. 4:11). It is easy to fall away when we are not ‘resting’ in perfect security in the love of God.
The world is full of people who are looking for someone to love them. Many Christians go from church to church, wanting to be loved. Some seek for love in friendships and some in marriage. But all this search can end in disappointment. Like orphans, the children of Adam are insecure and as a result are again and again overcome by bouts of self-pity. The sad thing is that even after conversion, many still remain insecure, when there is no need for them to be so. What is the answer of the gospel to this problem? The answer is to find our security in the love of God. Jesus repeatedly told His disciples that the hairs on their head were all numbered and that a God Who fed the millions of birds and clothed the millions of flowers would certainly take care of them. A greater argument than all of that is: “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up freely for us, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things” (Rom. 8:32).
One reason why God allows us at times to be disappointed with our fellow human beings is so that we might learn to stop leaning on man. He desires to free us from such idolatry (for it is a form of idolatry to depend on man), so that we might learn to lean wholly upon Him alone. And so when God orders your circumstances in such a way that you are disappointed on every side, that shouldn’t discourage you. It is just God weaning you away from the arm of flesh so that you might learn to live by faith in Him. Learn to find your security in the fact that God loves you as He loved Jesus.
All competition and jealousy among Christians arises out of this same insecurity. A man who is secure in the love of God and who believes that God made no mistake in making him the way He made him, and in giving him the gifts and talents He gave him, can never possibly be jealous of another or compete with another. All problems of relationships among believers are also basically due to this same insecurity. Just think how many of your problems will be solved when your eyes are opened to this one truth - that God loves you exactly as He loves Jesus.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon