So often I shy away from the love of God, and what He has done for me. Somehow, in my head, if I focused on how much He actually loved me, and pursued me, and saw me, I'd be selfish, or somehow turn the Gospel into a self-centered story. But how can you fully grasp the Gospel until you've grasped what He has actually done? He saved you. He saved me. Thats's incredible, and unless we take a moment (or a lot of moments) to let that sink in, we're not going to get very far. There are two extreme reactions to the love of God that I've seen, personally.
One, you can reject it. "Oh, yes, I still love Jesus! I live for Him! But I'm not worthy of everything He did on the cross... I'm not quite sure the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was for me. That would be selfish to think that all of that was for me! I mean, Jesus died for others! And don't talk of who we are in Christ! That's focusing way too much on ourselves. And, as Christians, we shouldn't do that."
Two, you can interpret everything completely wrong and go all 'self-centered Gospel'. "Yes, Jesus died for me, to live my best life now, because He finds me so beautiful and worthy of everything He has done! I'm supposed to live to be happy, because Jesus died to save me from Hell, and now I can do what makes me feel good about myself!"
I've been the first for quite a while. It's not that I didn't believe that love of God was for me, or that I was a new creation, but it seemed selfish to even go there. And, yes, I knew who I was in Christ... well, as much as I really let myself think about it. And it wasn't like I totally denied the Cross, but there were the whispers of the enemy in my ear, reminding me of who I was outside of Jesus, and how unworthy of the love He showed.
Well, let me tell you something. Jesus is changing my perspective. There is a middle ground. There doesn't have to be one or the other, there can be that perfect middle... where Jesus is. Love is not something to keep at arms length, but to embrace. When I deny the power of the love of God, that is denying Jesus. Because God is love, and when I reject that, I reject Him. He gave up a lot for me to become His child, and how do I respond? By entering the house, but living in the basement, living like a worthless wretch? What power is there in that? Let me tell you: the love of God is freeing. Because when you see what He did, and what He made you, you'll change. Love = power. He loved me and you enough to not only save us from our sins, but to stick a new nature in us so that we could live the Impossible Life! WE CAN LIVE IN LOVE, AND ACCEPT THE LOVE OF GOD, BECAUSE WE HAVE A NEW NATURE (2 Peter 1:4). Sorry for the all caps, but I felt it necessary.
You have been given a new nature. You are a new creation, with a new heart! It is only the lack of the renewing of our minds that causes us to stumble... and because we don't think the way He thinks, we don't understand love that way that He loves. We don't see ourselves the way He sees us. And that's not to go all "love yourself!" on you, that's just Scripture. Because He does see us in a manner that is completely shocking to us.
Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul from the pit of corruption: for thou hast all my sins thy back. // Isaiah 38:17
He casts all of our sins behind His back! Do we even begin to comprehend that kind of God? That is forgiveness! Crazy to think, that everything God is, can be pretty much summed up in one word: love. He calls us chosen. Redeemed. Set-apart. Worthy. Blameless. Clean. One with Him. Imagine that! One with Him? Yes! Christ in me, and I in Him. I am not Christ, but I am in Him. That is what He died to purchase. Our life with Him. Abiding with Him 24/7. The only reason we don't abide in Christ all the time, and live a sinless life, is because our minds haven't been renewed. If we truly saw who we are in Jesus why would we ever go back? Jesus' love not only goes as far as the Cross, but beyond. We are to be moving from Passover to Tabernacles (where He tabernacles with us!!) constantly. Yes, Him delivering us from death is such an amazing thing, and such a picture of love! But it is so much more than that! He died for us to have a new life! To know who we are in Him! To live as He did/does! But how are we ever going to manifest that unless we grab hold of the love that He poured out to us 2,000 years ago on the cross? If we do not accept the love of God, we will never be changed into the image of His Son, and as a result we will never be able to give out the love of Jesus like we were meant to. So, no matter how you've looked at love (and wether this is just a reminder for you), look at Jesus and claim what He has done. Because only true love does what He did. And I don't mean to waste it.