Growing up, one of my biggest doubts in life was about God’s love for me. I had grown up hearing about God’s love and singing the common song “Jesus Love Me”, but I never really believed it to be true. Going through middle school and high school, one of the things you quickly learn is that you must earn what you get. Whether that is grades, friends, a spot on the starting roster, a part in the play, a solo in band, and on and on we could go. We need to work in order to achieve something we want. This same mindset is what kept me from believing that God could really love me without me doing something or earning that love. Thoughts of being good and doing what God commands of me became burdens as I thought those things earned the love of God. As I often failed at obeying God and doing the right thing, I also thought I failed at earning God’s love.
Finding God's Love
It was not until my junior year in high school that I finally figured out how I could sing “Jesus Loves Me” and believe it to be true. My youth pastor at the time gave the Wednesday night group a challenge. In the midst of that challenge was a reward of a steak dinner if we found the answer. The challenge – find a place in scripture that talked about earning or working for God’s love. Instantly my eyes opened wide and I accepted the challenge. I thought this was going to be easy as this is what I believed to be true anyway. So I started my search.
However, instead of finding verses confirming my doubt, I found verse after verse confirming the love God has for me. John 3:16, 1st John 3:16, 1st John 4:19, Romans 8:37-39 and Romans 5:8 were a few of those verses. I found that God’s love for me had nothing to do with what I can do and everything to do with what Christ Jesus has done! As Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
We do not need to get our lives in order before our God loves us. Instead, we act in response to God’s great love!