“I pray…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.”
How do you react when someone tells you they love you? What do you think? What do you feel? In my work with individuals and couples, I often talk with people having difficulty letting love in. The reasons for struggling with love are legion, including fear of being hurt, low self-esteem, and trauma over the years. Sadly, this can distort how people understand God’s love, affecting their capacity for letting God’s love in. Then throw in legalism and guilt-tripping, and many hesitate to let God love them just as they are. Of course, the Evil One, the enemy of our souls and accuser of believers (Revelation 12:10), is more than ready to tell us how un-loveable we are.
But just look at the Gospels and see how Jesus loved ne’er-do-wells, prostitutes, incorrigibles, Pharisees, tax collectors, and no-counts. He loved those who followed Him and those who crucified Him. And “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). God’s Spirit within you is urging you, encouraging you to know God as your Abba Father (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6). “As we experience the continued gift of God’s love poured into our hearts by His Spirit, we begin to respond to our inner dignity as a child of God, loved infinitely by God Himself in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” (George Maloney, Entering into the Heart of Jesus)
We are increasingly rooted and grounded in Christ’s love as, by faith, we open wide our hearts to Him. And we discover that “He brings His own love, and that, consciously received, produces a corresponding and answering love in our hearts.” (Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture; Ephesians) We find ourselves continually growing in love for Him because we know He has first loved us.
Writing these words start me singing the opening line of George Matheson’s hymn, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go”:
O love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee.
I give thee back the life I owe,
that in thine ocean depths its flow
may richer, fuller be.
THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
“To love without condition does not mean to love without concern. God desires to enter into relationship with us and wants us to love God in return.” Henri Nouwen