How much money do you make?
How many hours a week do you work?
Do you volunteer? Are you making enough of a difference in your church … in the world?
These are the measuring sticks we humans use to determine our self-worth. The more money we make, the more we can demonstrate the fruits of our labor. The more hours we work, the more worthy of those fruits we feel we are.
We even use labor in volunteer settings and in the church to determine our value. Why? Because we crave love, and we believe that being loveable is something we must work tirelessly toward.
Be honest with yourself. Has there been a time (perhaps now) when you worked hard because you craved the approval of people in your life? Maybe it was a parent or a spouse. Or a pastor. Or even God.
It is so difficult for us to believe – really believe– that God already loves us as fully, deeply, and passionately as He ever will. His love will not change because of our “work” for Him.
When we really believe this fundamental truth about God, everything changes.
Our fear – that we will let people down by not making enough money, not working hard enough, not volunteering or serving enough – disappears.
Our deep dread that we are not loveable, and that we must do more to be worthy of love, evaporates.
We are no longer so blinded by our task list, email inbox, or calendar that we cannot see the signs of God’s love all around us. This is not easy. Sometimes recognizing God’s love expressed in the gift of a beautiful hummingbird outside the window is harder than responding to a thousand emails.
But we can (and should) look up at the sky as we head off to work before the sun rises and recognize that He dotted the heavens with stars just for us. We can glance outside on our coffee break and notice a bright red rose, glistening with dew that God created for our pleasure.
The fear of being unlovable was a wall we had up yesterday, but as it comes down today, we also recognize the people in our lives who express Christlike, unconditional love for us.
When our children reach out to us, we realize it is not a distraction but a sign that we are already loved. We are able to receive compliments from our spouses, friends and coworkers – not because we earned them but because God put these people in our lives to show us we were loved all along.
When we recognize God’s love, these questions about money and work and service become almost irrelevant. We realize that out of His love, He provides it all. How much we have and how hard we work has nothing to do with our worth as children of God.
So what does it take to earn God’s love? Nothing. He offers it freely!
That can be hard for us to accept. Take a moment to watch Chip talk about how challenging it is for him to remember that he doesn’t have to work to be loved.
For more information about the character of God, check out the series The Real God
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