I Know God Loves Me, But Does He Like Me?

I’m not a touchy feely person. I have a friend, CB, who is one of the most godly, “manly” AND affectionate men I know. His “affection” may be partly his personality, but I believe it’s his passionate love for Jesus that makes him so warm hearted and affectionate toward others. When I tell him I’m walking through something tough his eyes well up with tears. If I say something funny he throws his arm around my shoulder and buries his face in my neck, shaking with his laughter. It’s just pure godly affection.

I’m not naturally affectionate. I think it must be the German blood in me. My dad and mom were wonderful loving parents but weren’t particularly affectionate to us kids. As a result I think, I’m not a “huggy” kind of guy. So occasionally as we’re watching TV, one of my kids will try to torture me by holding one finger lightly on my back or shoulder until I can’t stand it and slap their hand away.  It usually takes about 8 seconds.

When Jesus first saved me I believed God forgave my sins. Gradually I came to believe God loved me. But perhaps because of my upbringing or my own lack of affection for others I wasn’t sure God liked me. I believed he put up with me because he’d saved me, but didn’t have any sense that he delighted in me. I was wrong. God delights in his children. If you believe God loves you but aren’t certain he likes you let me try to persuade you with a few Scriptures:

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. ZEPH 3.17

God said this of Israel. How much more does he rejoice and exult with loud singing over his blood-bought children, for he sees his delightful Son in us. He sees us clothed with the beautiful righteousness of Christ.

…as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. IS 62:5

Believers are the bride of Christ and he feels a wedding day delight in us.

For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. PHP 1:8

Paul longed for his brothers and sisters with affection. Not a mere natural affection, but “the affection of Christ Jesus.” The very tender love Christ feels for his redeemed. Jesus doesn’t love you in some cold and distant way, but with a deep, heartfelt warmth and passion.

“As for the saints who are in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.” PS 16.3.

David delighted in God’s people. He saw them as “the excellent ones.” David expressed the very heart of God for his people. David wouldn’t delight in them more than God himself. This verse tells us how God sees us: as “excellent ones” in whom is all his delight.  Believe me now? God not only loves you but he “likes” you – his heart overflows with affection for you because of Christ in you. Let God’s delight in you spur you on to increasingly delight in him, spending time with him in his word and prayer, worship and fellowship with his people.

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Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.

4 comments

  • I have a question. I know that God loves us, but isn’t He also holy? I don’t know…I guess I’ve been feeling like I should be more fearful of God for fear that I’m not the elect or not really saved or am not following in His way. I’m afraid because I’m afraid that He will reject me in the end. I’m also afraid because I know that God is love, but He’s also holy, and I try to honor His holiness all of the time and am afraid that if I love Him too much, I will forget about how Holy, Powerful, and Just He is. I realize that I’m not framing this in the form of a question, but I’ve been struggling with this for a while and wanted an answer.

  • @Clair / Mark – I listened to a TED talk from Brene Brown the other day. She’s a researcher who studies “vulnerability”. Sounds weird, I know, but listening to her unpack the significance of vulnerability in people’s lives moved my heart in light of my own struggles. She goes on to talk about the overwhelming negative impact that shame has on subverting any efforts to be vulnerable. She says, “Guilt is the realization that I made a mistake … shame is the belief that ‘I am’ a mistake.” I know in my own life, which is primarily marked over the last decade of me wandering away from God, this belief deep in my heart, born from sin and acting out, has led to the deep conviction that God doesn’t like me. When in reality, I’ve realized over time, that I go through periods when I loath myself – and I project that on God. In my case this self-loathing is a result of my own guilt and shame.

    I’m not sure if this resonates with you, but I pray that God would speak wisdom to you, Clair and Mark, that you would know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart would be opened to the hope which He has called you to (Ephesians 1:17 – 19). I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith – that would would experience the love of God spread abroad within your heart (Romans 5:5). And that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power to grasp how WIDE and LONG and HIGH and DEEP is the love of Christ for you (Ephesians 3:16 – 18).

    I have kids – and I know how I feel about them. When I’m with them sometimes, my heart expands and feels full and soaring. This final verse encourages me – that God delights in me – and in you, Clair and Mark. He sings over us in His joy.

    Zephaniah 3:14-17

    14 Sing, Daughter Zion;
    shout aloud, Israel!
    Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
    Daughter Jerusalem!
    15 The Lord has taken away your punishment,
    he has turned back your enemy.
    The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;
    never again will you fear any harm.
    16 On that day
    they will say to Jerusalem,
    “Do not fear, Zion;
    do not let your hands hang limp.
    17 The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
    He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

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