This week we begin exploring the nature of God’s love in our series on the character of God. This weekend as a church we are meditating on God’s love, mulling it over, asking questions, thinking on Scripture as we prepare to hear Pastor Chris’ sermon on Sunday, “God is Love” (Services at 8, 9:30, and 11:15am).
In that vein, I am excited to introduce to you today’s guest blogger, Kristen Hernandez. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Kristen over coffee and with love unexplainable radiating from her eyes, she shared this story with me. It was through Kristen’s eyes and the life in her story that I knew something more of the heart of God. She is so generously sharing that story with us here today. So settle in and relish this insight into God’s love for you.
“Why do you love your baby?”
It had only been a few hours since our son, Andrew, was born and I was weary, yet completely enamored by the tiny blue bundle I held in my arms. As I considered the question the kindhearted nurse posed, I stared at his delicate face and savored his fresh newborn scent. Holding this boy—our boy—felt like holding my heart outside of my body. The immense love inside me was intoxicating in the very sweetest way and I never wanted to stop studying his features—features that uncannily resembled ours. We had only known each other face-to-face for mere hours and I already knew I would die for him without hesitation if it ever came to it. Describing my love for him came easy, but articulating the reason I loved him was more challenging.
If I asked you why you love your spouse, your best friend, or one of your siblings, you would likely be able to recite a list of reasons: They possess a variety of admirable qualities, they have been there for you in good times and bad, they challenge you to love Christ more, they make you laugh, etc. But if you were asked why you love your newborn child, you’d likely have a harder time putting it into words. If you really think about it, you could say that babies are “inconvenient” and have very little to offer. They are completely dependent on their parents for their most basic needs and demand our time, attention, and even our finances. Yet our love for our children is not based on what they can do for us, but rather on who they. The overwhelming love I felt was apparent, yet I could not name a single reason other than the purest truth. I love my son simply because he is my child and nothing he could do would ever change his identity.
The nurse knew exactly what she was doing when she posed the question. “Isn’t it amazing to think that this unconditional love is a small, imperfect glimpse into God’s love for his children?” she asked.
There is a lot to be said about God’s love. Like his character, it is personal, never-ending, faithful, and just. But today, let’s hone in on the unconditional nature of God’s love–a love that is not based on our love for him nor the things we have done but rather on who we are as chosen sons and daughters adopted into His family. 1 John 3:1a says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” This is good news for the believer–God loves us and has predestined us to be grafted into his family (Ephesians 1:11). He looks upon us—his little children–with the overwhelming, sacrificial love of a parent holding their incapable, yet precious, newborn child.
Many of us have subconsciously bought the lie that God’s love is something to be earned; Perhaps if we do the right things, serve the right way, and commit our lives to purity, God will love us more. While God certainly calls His children to holiness, the love we receive is not contingent on this. God loved us with a sacrificial love when we had nothing to offer, still in our sin (Romans 5:8). When we were chosen by God, we were covered by the atoning sacrifice of Christ–when God looks at us, he does not see our sin and our shame, but rather he sees perfection because he sees Jesus. 1 John 4:10 says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” His love is not something to be earned, but rather something you and I already have.
My son will never be asked to earn my love by being a “good kid”. In his humanness, he will likely do something to grieve me one day—but nothing would cause me to stop loving him. Nothing will cause him to stop being my son.
Just as I love my infant son because he is my child–an essential part of his identity, rather than a feat he accomplished–God loves you because you are already His. May we delight and take comfort in the depth of the Father’s love for us.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2: 4-8
By Kristen Hernandez (If you would like to hear more of Kristen’s story you can find her heartfelt voice sharing over at sunlightindecember.com)
Top Image Photo by: Lauren Guilford Photography