This Crazy Love

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Have you ever wondered how God feels about loving us? I used to think it was sort of a dutiful, emotionless, “because I have to” kind of love. As in, He’d rather not, but since He’s God, well then He’d better do it. I especially felt like this when I wasn’t performing “correctly” (according to my own standards of godly expectation). Then I met Frankie.

The first time I saw him, Frankie was literally being dragged by his ear to the principal’s office. I was volunteering at the middle school in my small town. Because it was a small town, Frankie’s reputation and the reputation of his family proceeded him. Put simply, Frankie was a redneck thug that came from a long line of redneck thugs who all lived in the skuzzy section of town. They were not upstanding citizens. Frankie was not a good student; he didn’t care about school, and he wasn’t very smart. No one liked him and some people were afraid of him. I watched through the library window as Frankie was pulled into the office, and I remember thinking, “Jesus, You love Frankie.” And suddenly , unexpectedly, I loved Frankie too. Not dutifully, or because I was supposed to, but painfully, passionately, and for absolutely no reason at all. It was amazing!

This is God’s kind of love for us. It’s wild, and crazy, and passionate, and free. He loves because that’s who He is (1 John 4:16) and He likes it. I can almost hear Him laughing, “Hahaha! You think you’re so bad, then I will love you even more!!” I think He looks at “bad” people and is like, “Yes! Watch Me love you! I’m amazing!!”

It doesn’t make sense, but I’m one hundred percent sure that He feels this way and more. Because, I have felt this way for someone that I should never have loved. I have been overwhelmed by God’s love to the point of laughing and crying like a crazy person because the emotion is too big to handle. The more God freely loves people who don’t deserve love, the more glory He gets, the more we stand in awe of Him, and the more we love Him back. (1 John 4:19)

I want you to do something. Read these verses, but not in a solemn, churchy voice; read it with passion bordering on insanity. Feel His love for you! Let it soak in deep.

  • “Jesus said to them, β€œIt is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:`7
  • ” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
  • “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died forΒ us.” Romans 5:6-8
  • “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” Β 1 John 3:1
  • ” This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10

God doesn’t love us because He has to. He loves us because He wants to, because He loves to, because that’s who God is! So tip your head back and relax. Smile up at Him. Let Him love you even though it doesn’t make sense.

What if We’ve Got it Wrong

Christians are known for their amazing ability to tell people what “not to do”, and what “to do” in order to be a good Christian. I’m guilty of this myself. But what if we’ve got it wrong? What if it’s not about what we do or don’t do? What if Jesus saved us for a different purpose?

What if He saved us because He wants us to know Him?

Our sin, disobedience to God’s ways, is what separated us from God in the first place (Genesis 3). We hear this a lot and are familiar with the story of Adam and Eve. But get this, before Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they walked with Him in their garden! They knew what His footsteps sounded like! (Genesis 3:8) God’s original plan was to be that close to us!

Fast forward a few thousand years to Jesus hanging on the cross. What happens the moment he dies? The giant curtain in the temple that separated people from the Presence of God is torn in two from top to bottom. (Mark 15:37-39) God was welcoming us once again, letting us know we could walk with Him and recognize the sound of His footsteps.

Listen to how Paul, the former legalist, puts it after listing all of his impressive outward actions, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Philippians 3:7-8.

When I was fifteen years old, God showed up one day. I wasn’t necessarily looking for Him or expecting Him. I was just dutifully praying through a list of His names as a home-school project. But He showed up and I’ve never been the same. God jumped from a two dimensional name on the page of an old book, to a three dimensional Person. He has continued to show up over the past eighteen years, more often when I am looking for Him, but sometimes even when I’m not. I can honestly say that there is nothing I want more than to know Jesus, to follow Him, and to love Him because I know Him. It’s not because I am someone special, but because He is.

What if this is the point? What if the God of the Universe saved us not so that we could perform for Him, but so that we could know Him. What if loving God and following (obeying) God flows out of knowing Him? Not knowing more information about Him, but coming face to face with Him. What if this was the point of the cross?

Maybe you are saying, “That’s great for you, but it’s never happened to me.” I’m pretty sure that God wants everyone to know Him. In Acts 17, Paul goes to Athens and talks to some intellectuals. He tells them about the “Unknown God” they made an altar to, basically introducing them to the real God of the Bible. This is what he says in verses 24-27,

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.”

My NKJV Bible from years ago said, “In the hope that they might grope for him and find him”. I love this picture of reaching out in the dark and God is right there. The idea of searching for God and finding Him is all through out the Bible (Jeremiah 29:12-14).

I firmly believe that anyone who looks for God through Jesus Christ will find Him. And this is my new goal in life. Rather than telling people what they should or shouldn’t be doing, I want to help them know Jesus. Because I know once they meet Him, really experience Him, they will love Him and want to follow Him.

 

God is Not Disappointed

How many times have you found yourself avoiding God because you could feel his disappointment?

I know that I’ve done this often. I used to feel like I needed to perform all the time so that God would be happy with me and like me more. And when I stopped doing it right, failed to have a “quiet time” every day, forgot to pray, chose to do things I knew were wrong, well, then I knew that He was disappointed in me so I avoided Him.

Guess what? God is not disappointed in you. God doesn’t get disappointed!

Before you get defensive and stop reading, let me explain. I’ve searched the Bible to find God’s disappointment and it’s just not there. Disappointment is a purely human emotion. Why? Because in order to feel disappointment, you have to have higher expectations for someone than they can (or choose to) meet. God doesn’t have higher expectations for us than we can meet. He knows everything about us including the depths of our sin and He chooses to love us right there in the middle of it. Nothing surprises Him!

In the Bible I have found instances where God was angry about sin and sad about sin, but never disappointed. I don’t know about you, but I find that freeing!

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1. No condemnation, ever. When we chose to believe that Jesus Christ paid for our sins by His death on the cross, our sins are gone. God doesn’t see them anymore and there is no condemnation. He is not disappointed in us. He delights in us. God just wants us to enjoy the freedom we have been given to know Him and be His child!

An Introduction

I directly copied this first blog post from the “About Me” part of my profile. I never wanted to write a blog, but it is something that I haven’t been able to get out of my head, so I’m pretty sure it’s God asking me to do it. πŸ™‚

“After spending my teens and early twenties in a cultish sub-group of Christianity known as IBLP and ATI (If you Google these terms, you will most likely find articles about how the founder, Bill Gothard, recently resigned due to sexual harassment charges.), I began a journey to leave behind the legalism I was raised with and find the real God of the real Bible. What I discovered still surprises me!

This blog is just some of my thoughts and a few of my journeys as I uncover a glimpse of the God who created the universe and loved us, his little creations,Β  enough to die for us. This God has been terribly misrepresented by people who don’t really know him and haven’t really read his book. I’m not saying I’m smarter or wiser or have all the answers. But, I have met him and gotten to know him over the past fifteen years.

Paul, the man God used to write 1 Corinthians says in chapter 1 verse 23 and 25, “but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”

The real God and his real Son Jesus trip up people who are living their life by a set of rules and laws, and they seem stupid and foolish to intellectuals. But I have met Someone worth tripping over to find the truth. And if the intellectuals of this world think that I and my beliefs are stupid, then let me be foolish. The God that I have found is worth it all!