Despite the fact that I’ve been a Christian for 25 years, there are times when I still wonder if God loves me.
I know, I know. The fact that God loves me is basically Christianity 101. After all, the one Bible verse everyone knows is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
But here’s the thing: it’s one thing to have head knowledge that God loves me. It’s something else altogether to believe it so deeply and strongly that it utterly transforms every aspect of my life.
The first type of knowledge – head knowledge – is never lacking on my part. I know my theology pretty well. Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. If you were to ask me if God loves me, I’d say, “Yes, of course!”
But when it comes to actually experiencing the reality that God loves me – that’s sorely lacking on my part.
And while I’m not a proponent of elevating feelings and experiences over the rock-solid truth of God’s word, I do think it’s important that I both know and experience God’s love. Just like I want my children to both know and experience my love, I believe that God wants me to know and experience the staggering, glorious, life-giving reality that God loves me.
So how can I grow in this experiential knowledge of God’s love? I don’t think it’s complicated. Scripture makes it abundantly, overwhelmingly clear just how crazy God is about me.
I simply need to take hold of these truths to the point where they move from mere head knowledge to experiential reality.
Here are four different ways that Scripture tells me that God loves me.
1. God Loves Me and Chose Me To Be Saved
Scripture makes it very clear that in eternity past, God chose me to be saved. Before I had done anything good or bad, God decided that he was going to forgive my sins and adopt me in Jesus Christ.
Why did he choose me? Because he loved me with a deep, profound, inexplicable love. As Ephesians 1 puts it, “In love he predestined us…”
Though the doctrine of predestination may seem mysterious or confusing, one thing is NOT confusing: the reason God predestined me to be saved was that he really, truly loved me. He wouldn’t have chosen me to be saved if he didn’t possess an extravagant love for me.
Speaking to the people of Israel, God said:
It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you. (Deuteronomy 7:7-8)
Though this verse was for Israel, the same principle applies to me. God did not choose me because I had anything compelling to offer him or because of my spiritual gifts. God simply chose me to be his son because God loves me.
When I really think about it, it takes my breath away. God loves me and chose to save me.
2. God Loves Me and Gave His Son For Me
There is no greater, more unassailable proof that God loves me than the fact that he gave his Son to die for my sins.
God wanted to be in a relationship with me so much that he was willing to sacrifice his only Son to make that happen. Though my many sins against God deserve the furious wrath of God, he poured that wrath out on Jesus instead.
He didn’t give me what I deserve, he gave Jesus what I deserve.
1 John 4:10 puts it this way:
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Romans 5:7-8 speaks of God’s love like this:
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Is there any greater proof that God loves me? This is love that I simply can’t fathom. Christ died for me even though I had ZERO righteousness of my own. He didn’t die for a good person, he died for me, a wicked sinner who wanted nothing to do with him.
In his book 50 Reasons Why Jesus Came To Die, John Piper puts it like this:
The measure of God’s love for us is shown by two things. One is the degree of his sacrifice in saving us from the penalty of our sin. The other is the degree of unworthiness that we had when he saved us.
Is there any greater, more convincing proof that God loves me than the cross? If I want to truly know and experience the love of God, the starting place is the cross. It’s there that I see the breathtaking heights of God’s love and the bewildering lengths he was willing to go to save me.
God loves me, and the cross is proof of it.
3. God Loves Me and Adopted Me
Simply forgiving my sins would be proof enough that God loves me, but he doesn’t stop there. He piles proof upon proof of his love.
In addition to forgiving all my sins, God adopted me as his son. It wasn’t enough for him to just forgive me. God deeply wanted me to be part of his family – to share in the overflowing joy of the Trinity.
In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
This is a glorious, praise-inducing truth. I have been given the full rights of a son of God, including an inheritance from God himself. I have unique access to God that is only available to his family members. Even though he is the Holy One, the one who causes prophets to cry out, “Woe is me!” I can call him, “Abba, Father.”
The only person who dares wake up a king at 3:00 AM for a glass of water is a child. We have that kind of access.
I am adopted by God and I have the King of Kings as my Father.
God loves me, and my adoption as his son is proof of that.
4. God Loves Me and Loves To Bless Me
I absolutely love to give gifts to my kids. Whether it’s something a simple as a cookie to a trip to Disney World, I love to bless my kids. Why? Because I have an intense, fatherly affection for them.
God loves me with that same intense, fatherly affection, and he loves to pour out blessings on me.
In Luke 11:12-13, Jesus says:
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Jesus is making a lesser to the greater argument. If I, a sinful, human father, love to give good gifts to my children, how much more does God love to bless his kids? I’m often selfish and thoughtless, and yet I still take deep delight in blessing my children.
God’s love for me is infinitely greater than my love for my kids, and he proves that he loves me by pouring out blessing after blessing on me.
God blesses me in so many ways, whether it’s healing me from an illness, providing for me financially, speaking to me through my Bible reading, or answering prayers in very specific ways. When I try to count all the ways God has blessed me, I find myself saying, “Bless the Lord, O my soul!”
God loves me and proves that by blessing me in a thousand different ways.
Do You Know That God Loves You?
Charles Spurgeon said:
If a man could know that he was loved by all his fellowmen, if he could have it for certain that he was loved by all the angels, yet these were but so many drops, and all put together could not compare with the main ocean contained in the fact that “God loved us.”
Now let me ask you a question: do you know that God loves you? Not just in your head, like you know that the Earth orbits around the sun. Are you gripped and moved and transformed by the love of God? Does God’s staggering love for you fire your heart with love for him?
If not, spend some time meditating on the truths above. Let them sink deep into the soil of your soul. Let your heart be transformed by the incredible reality that God really, really loves you.