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How to Understand and Internalize God’s Deep Love for Us

How to Understand and Internalize God’s Deep Love for Us

Though many of us grew up hearing about God’s love for us and singing songs about God’s love for us, living in the joy and security of that deep love can be a challenge. In part, this has been because the love of God is extraordinary in every way. It is incomparable in nature and unfathomable in depth.

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What Does Scripture Teach about God’s Love for Us?

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible speaks of God’s love for us. The book of Psalms alone has many verses describing God’s love for us. The Psalmist David described God’s love with these poetic words, “Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies” (Psalm 36:4). He goes on to write, “How priceless is your unfailing love, O God” (Psalm 36:7). In another Psalm, David wrote, You, LORD, are forgiving and good abounding in love to all who call to you” (Psalm 86:15). Through Psalm 136, the echoing refrain is, His love endures forever. The prophets, psalmists, and apostles all wrote about and were enamored with the infinite love of God. Jesus, as the physical demonstration of God’s love, taught about the Father’s love often.

One of the most precious stories that Jesus told is the story of the prodigal (Luke 15:11-31). This simple story paints a graphic picture of the profound love of God for us. The story is about two sons. The older is the classic rule follower. The younger the classic baby of the family who doesn’t give rules much thought. The younger asks for his inheritance early. This was unheard of in Middle Eastern family culture. As Jesus told this story He would have had the focused attention of every listener. The Father gives the younger son his inheritance and the son goes out and wastes it all on wine, women, and wanton pleasure. Like a classic college freshman, he wants to party his life away. However, when the money runs out, he comes to the profound conclusion that he needs to get a job! He gets hired to feed pigs for a while (unheard of in Jewish culture) but eventually hits rock bottom. Finally, in desperation, the rebellious son heads home thinking he will work for his Father. However, in His story, Jesus shows us the Father's true heart and his immense love for us. He doesn’t want us to be His servants. He wants us to come home as His beloved children.

In Jesus’s story, the Father searches the horizon and when He sees His son, He runs to Him, throws His arms around the son, and kisses him. He puts His robe on His son and His ring on his finger. Then, the Father throws a massive dinner party for His long-lost son.

The story illustrates how God in His love, crosses the distance to connect with us. He continues to love us through our rebellion and when we come home it’s not our service He desires, but our love.

The Greatest Demonstration of God’s Love for Us

The Greatest Demonstration of God’s Love for Us

The greatest demonstration of God’s love for us is the cross of Jesus Christ. On one of the last nights before He would give His life, Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this; to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). At the time, Jesus’ friends didn’t know it, but that’s exactly what He was planning to do. God the Father loved us so much that He sent His Son to die so that we wouldn’t have to pay the price for our sins. It’s amazing to think of dying on behalf of a friend, but even more unfathomable would be dying for an enemy. Yet, that is exactly what Christ did on our behalf. The Apostle Paul wrote, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this; While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God took the initiative to invite us into friendship by giving up His only Son to take all the punishment on the cross for our sins.

Crucifixions were the most brutal of all capital punishments. The criminal was nailed to a cross, naked and left hanging to die by exhaustion and asphyxiation. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Jesus was tortured, beaten, and sentenced to death by an illegal trial. When we read the story, detailed for us in all four gospels (Matthew 27:32-56, Mark 15:21-38, Luke 23:26-49, and John 19:16-37) our hearts scream, “Injustice”! Yet mans’ injustice accomplished God’s perfect justice. It’s difficult to even imagine such a punishment. However, at the cross of Christ, horror and hope come together. 

Death is the punishment for sin before God. God made Christ who knew no sin, become sin on the cross so that all His wrath towards that sin was poured out on Jesus. When Jesus rose victoriously, He conquered sin and death for all time. Once we put our faith and trust in Christ, God clothes us in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. From then on, we look as good to God the Father, as Jesus Himself (2 Corinthians 5:21).

From these different passages, there are several conclusions we can draw about the love of God.

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3 Timeless Truths about God’s Love for Us

God’s Love Is Incomprehensible. Though we can read about God’s love in the scriptures, we can’t fully understand. It is beyond our complete comprehension because God’s love is so perfect, complete, satisfying, and faithful. There is no human love that comes even close. The Apostle Paul described the love of God for us as that which surpasses human understanding (Ephesians 3:19).

God’s Love Is Unconditional. As human beings, we love others most often conditionally. We are drawn to some people more than others and as a result, we love the ones we feel connected with. God, however, loves each of us unconditionally. His love for you never changes. You can rely on His love (1 John 4:16) and trust that it will never change. God’s love never diminishes or varies. It’s constant and consistent. In fact, the Apostle Paul writes that “nothing can separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:35).

God’s Love Can Be Experienced. Though His love is beyond our understanding, God still desires that we feel and experience the depths of His love. In Ephesians 3:17-19, where Paul describes the dimensions of God’s great love He prays that believers would “grasp” this great love. That word “grasp” in Greek carries more than just the idea of head knowledge. What Paul is praying is that believers everywhere would experience feeling and resting in God’s love.

What do you do if you don’t feel loved by God? Begin thanking and praising Him by faith that you are deeply loved. Thank Him every morning when you wake and every evening when you lay down to sleep. Memorize a few key verses about His love. Remind yourself often through your day that you are deeply and categorically loved by God. Gradually, as you praise and thank God for His love, you’ll start to feel loved by God. Honestly, there is no one who loves you more.

hand holding heart up to light, god is love john 4:8

How Does God’s Love for Us Change Our Lives?

Internalizing God’s deep love for us changes everything. Once you really begin to experience and feel secure in God’s love, it changes how you love others. It changes the core of your identity. You no longer define yourself by what you do or by what you accomplish but by the fact that you’re a beloved child of God. It changes how you love others. You begin to love others out of the overflow of a full heart. It changes your desires and dreams. When you live with a constant awareness that you are deeply loved by God you begin to desire what God desires. You dream about making His love known to others and joining Him in whatever He is doing in our world. It changes how you pray because you long to be in constant communion with your heavenly Father. Honestly, there is no truth that will change your life as radically as grasping the love of God for you! You will begin to wake in the morning, celebrating, “My Abba Father loves me!” Nothing can change that truth nor compete. You are categorically loved and treasured!

The next time you feel unloved create some space in your life to meditate and ponder the love of God for you. Remember, His love is incomprehensible and unconditional, and yet, God’s love for us can be experienced! Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a greater experience of God’s love. It’s a prayer He loves to answer.

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headshot of author Becky HarlingAuthentic. Passionate. Funny and Biblical all describe Becky Harling. A best-selling author, Becky is a popular speaker at conferences, retreats, and other events. She is the author of 11 books, including Our Father, Psalms for the Anxious Heart, How to Listen so Your Kids Will Talkand The Extraordinary Power of Praise. Our Father Becky Harling book bible study Becky is a certified coach with the John Maxwell Team and a seasoned Bible teacher. You can connect with Becky at www.beckyharling.com, www.harlingleadership.com, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/beckyharlingministries, Twitter, @beckyharling, or on Instagram at Becky Harling