Psalms 103:8 NLT
The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
At different times in my life, I have found myself off the wayside and not seeking God in my life, or found myself in the ditch of striving diligently to keep the law but judging others, or found myself in the other ditch of claiming grace while not resisting sin.
If we ignore God’s mercy and grace and forgiveness – if we do not have love then we are nothing and we have nothing. Yes, it is Love that He demonstrated to us in the life example and teachings of Jesus Christ. He is a loving Father.
But it is also dangerous for us to ignore that our loving Father God is the creator of everything, that He is all powerful and a great and mighty God to be respected – and yes, to be reverently feared. Not because He has ill intentions towards us, but because He will discipline and protect us.
I am a father to a beautiful, bright, and loving little girl. And I love and encourage her to live right so that she will avoid getting herself into trouble. I teach her, hoping that she will listen and learn from the wisdom that I can share with her instead of having to learn all of her lessons through experience.
But my little girl also has a selfish and sinful nature that I must correct and discipline, or not only will she be a terror to others in her life, and a dishonor to her parents, but more importantly (at least from my daddy perspective) she will encounter traps and pains and struggles and trouble that I would rather she avoid.
And I am patient and not quickly provoked into action, but if my daughter is put into harm’s way, or if someone is a threat to her safety, I will protect my daughter. Given the opportunity, I will neutralize any and all threats – swiftly and with less thought to the potential value of a threat, because I know the value of my daughter.
And doesn’t God protect His children as well? Aren’t there those that are His and those that aren’t? Those that He values and that are His children, and yes, those that are created for destruction, to demonstrate to His children their value to Him?
Yes, many might read this and hope for the salvation of all. Because, I hope for those same things. And scripture tells us that God doesn’t wish that even a single one would escape His mercy and grace. But to show us His love for us, to prove to us that He values us, He who could weild His power to control our every decision and thought and action – He has given us this gift of choice.
And this gift of choice when paired with our sinful nature might have been an epic story of tragedy and misery, if it weren’t for His gift of grace through Jesus Christ.
You see, He gives us this Good News of the life and example and teachings of Jesus Christ. And He speaks to us with this still, quiet voice reminding us that we are His, that we are not the ones to be destroyed, but that we are the ones to be liberated and lifted up. And we know this voice of love, mercy, forgiveness, loving correction, guidance – because He is our Father and we are His.
And if we choose to listen, believe, and follow, then we know that we are His children who love and obey Him in return, because we appreciate His presence in our lives as a wise Father.
And FAITH is on one hand simply choosing to make that same decision over and over again to love and obey Him. It is remembering and not losing sight of who we are and who God is, just because the distractions of this physical world are more easily noticed by our senses than those things spiritual that we cannot see or touch.
But on the other hand, it is a battle, because our very nature works against us, and there is evil and temptation in this world and there are struggles and trials that we will encounter in life. The question becomes during the battle, are we trying to win the battle under our own strength, or are we trusting in the Lord, seeking His will, and living a renewed life in Christ. Our part of the fight is to believe, His part is to overcome and demonstrate His victory.
This battle inside of us, this daily surrender, this remembering and trusting and believing in God’s mercy, grace, and love towards us – it is everything that matters in that which is spiritual and everlasting – and it affects everything in our visible, yet temporary physical lives.
So if we have a loving Father, who is wise in His guidance and instruction, and who is patient and compassionate when we stumble, and who is fair and just in His discipline and correction when we rebell, and who will protect us and overcome our enemies –
Doesn’t that understanding change our lives?
Doesn’t that understanding change our perspective?
Don’t we want others to make the right choice as well?
Do you see that last part in the verse?
His love is unfailing.
Yes, His love is unfailing.
HIS LOVE is, yes, it is UNFAILING.
So let’s remember our value in His eyes. He sees us as His valuable children, worthy of His love and protection. Shouldn’t we know that about ourselves?
If we understand our value, shouldn’t we hold ourselves to a different standard in our lives, following His guidance and example?
Today, let’s know our value to God.
Let’s live a life of honor and praise to God that begins to reflect that value within us.
Hillsong – Unending Love
John 3:16 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
2 Peter 3:9 ESV
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
Matthew 22:37-40 ESV
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
1 John 4:16 ESV
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
1 John 4:7 ESV
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
Romans 5:8 ESV
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.