All Christians have things that they do because of their devotion to Christ. Some watch the kids at church, some bake, and some visit the hospitals, nursing homes, and funeral homes. One of the things that I do in service to my King is to work a three-day retreat roughly once a year. The retreat is meant to strengthen the church and raise up leaders. I have seen God do mighty works in those three short days every year. I’ve seen many come in shattered, broken, and lost. At the end, they leave renewed, reinvigorated, and in love with Christ.
This last weekend, it was my blessing to work another of these retreats. Going on one is a blessing, but if anything, working one is doubly so. I always have one of those “God moments” where I see or hear Him clearly. This time came in the form of one of the attendees. There is a culmination on the next to the last day; a clear display of the sacrificial love of Christ. It is meant to be overwhelming to the senses to display the overwhelming power of Christ. My “God moment” came in the form of a young lady. She, by her own admission, never cared much for church or Jesus. At this culmination, someone hugged her and said, “Do you know how much God loves you?” She responded, “I finally do now.” She accepted Christ as her Savior, and will one day enter into Heaven as a Child of the King.
A simple question for you today is, “Do you know how much God loves you?” New convert or 50-year disciple, do you know how much God loves you? I go a step further, and say, non-churched, alcoholic, adulterer, sinner, do you know how much God loves you?
Do you know, that the Creator of all the world, knows you by name? Do you know that from the foundation of the world, He had plans for you? This is not a fairy tale that we tell our children. For the Christian, the hope of Christ is our foundation. Ephesians 1:4-10 reads, “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One he loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”
To the Christian and the non-Christian, the message is the same. We are all guilty before God due to the sin nature of man. Yet, because of God’s great love for us, He has made a way back to Him through His Son. The gift is free. The life afterwards is where the rubber truly meets the road.
I think if we paint a picture of a life with Christ as an easy road, we do a disservice to not only Christ but to the believer. Life with Christ is not easy. Life with Christ brings many challenges that you would not have experienced before your conversion. Many see conversion as the end when it is in fact merely the beginning. To carry the mantle of Christian is to invite scorn from the world. The world has never been really fond of Jesus or His followers.
However, whatever the world can throw at us, it does not separate us from Him. Romans 8:35-39 was a response that I grew up reading in the little country church that I grew up in. The key part of all of it is that nothing in this life can separate us from Christ. Once you are a child of Christ you are sealed with the Holy Spirit. Just like I can pick out my child from several hundred feet away, Christ can see His children from afar. He knows our name. He sees us as we are, even the parts that we try to hide from everyone else. He does not support our sin, but He does love us enough to provide a way back to Him.
Do you know how much your Savior loves you? Do you know that He walked up Calvary and defeated death and the grave just to reach out to you? Do you know that He sits, even as I type this, at the right hand of God ever pleading for you? If not, maybe it’s time you talked to Him again.
Maybe you have been so involved with “being a Christian” that you have forgotten the Christ that you serve. Maybe you have been spiritually feeding others so much that you have not fed yourself. Or maybe, you have no relationship with Him at all. You don’t understand this Christian thing, and you think it’s not for you.
Christ has the same solution for all of the above: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
My hope this day and every day is that you might be able to answer the question of “do you know how much God loves you” with “Yes.” Once that is your answer, it should be your joy to tell others of the Hope that drives you on.