Why Does God Love Me? Why Does God Love You?
As women who minister the gospel to others, we are particularly susceptible to certain lies. One of the most dangerous is that God’s love is contingent upon our usefulness.
Most of us know that this isn’t true, but we can easily forget it and begin to function as if it was. I can tell that this has happened to me when I begin to pray but am unable to focus because my mind is full of my failures. It crops up when I hear what others are doing and think, “I should be doing more.” It’s there when I am criticized and believe that it means I have done everything wrong. It haunts me as an unsettled churning in my stomach that has nothing to do with a genuine conviction of sin.
Last week, I wrote about how we don’t need a record of our righteousness because we have the righteousness of Christ. This is the foundation on which we stand as our justification before God, but it can still leave us asking, “Why does he love me?” In our finitude, we try to answer this question by giving reasons. “I have served enough, given enough, loved enough…” but they always come up short.
God Loves Because He Loves
And the reason God loves you and me is because…he loves us.
The Bible, however, tells a different story. In Deuteronomy, Moses proclaims wonderful news to Israel – he tells them that God set his love on them and chose them to be his own. Those words are what all of us want to hear, and there’s no one from whom they mean more than our Creator and Father. But then Moses tells them something interesting. Anticipating that, like us, Israel will try to come up with reasons for why God loves them, he preemptively shoots them down. He says, “It’s actually not because you were numerous, for you were the fewest. It’s not because you’re righteous, for you are stubborn.” (Deut. 7:7; Deut. 8:6) Having left them with no reasons in themselves, he states, “The reason God loves you…so much so that he brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you…is because he promised your forefathers that he would love you and he loves you.” (Deut. 7:8) That’s it. The reason God loved the Israelites was…because he loved them. And the reason God loves you and me is because…he loves us.
In declaring this through Moses, God has done something wonderful. He has taken focus of his love off of anything that we have done and has instead pointed to himself as the reason for his love. I don’t think it’s something that we can fully comprehend in our fallen state, but it is the reality to which we must cling. God loves you simply because he loves you, not because of what you can do for him.
This is the truth that shatters the lie that God’s love is contingent upon our usefulness, including our usefulness to him in ministry. Andrew Peterson wrote a song that explains it perfectly. Speaking about the day Jesus returns, he sings,
Do you believe this, my sisters? Or are you haunted by doubts that you try to assuage by doing enough ministry for God? The knowledge that God’s reason for love resides in himself is what frees us to serve him simply because we love him in return. We are able to love others, because we know he loves us. And the way to believe it is by hearing it over and over, while asking God to apply it to our hearts. He really does love you simply because he loves you. And he’s never going to stop.