(Courtesy of Joyce Meyer Ministries)
The most important thing we can do as Christians is love God and love people. But before we can love anyone, we have to receive God's love. Because you can't give away something you don't have.
So, do you really know that God loves you? It's one thing to understand that God is love and He loves you, but it's another to know and experience His love personally. What we believe begins as a thought, and as Proverbs 23:7 says, "As [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he" (AMP). I like to say it this way: Where the mind goes, the man follows.
If you need to get a deeper revelation of God's love for you, a good place to start is to meditate on this truth based on God's Word: "God loves me unconditionally!"
The Truth About God's Love
Many years ago when I was preparing to teach my first public message, I felt like God was speaking to my heart to tell people He loves them. At first, I wasn't excited about this because it seemed too simple, so I told God, "They already know that. And I don't want to just teach a little Sunday school lesson." But God showed me that many people don't really know how much He loves them, because if they did, they would act a lot differently than they do.
God's love is amazing! First John 4:16 says God is love. And verse 18 says, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear..." (NKJV). God's love can remove fear from your life. It's a medicine that can heal every wound in your soul: a broken heart, the pain of rejection or abandonment or any other hurt you've experienced.
Romans 8:37 (NKJV) says "we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." When you really know the love of God, you don't have to be afraid of making a mistake; you can step out boldly in faith to do whatever He's calling you to do. You know who you are in Christ and have confidence that you can do whatever you need to do in life through Him.
God loves you on purpose. He didn't get stuck with you – He chose you! Ephesians 1:4 says that "[in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love" (AMP).
When you know God loves you, you feel valuable, accepted and that you have a purpose. You know your sins are forgiven and you are free from guilt and condemnation. And no matter what you've done, you can have a new beginning in Christ.
I want to encourage you to be determined to know and receive God's love for you. Study scriptures about God's love and make them personal confessions you can declare over your life. Look at yourself in the mirror and say out loud, "God loves me! He chose me, actually picked me out for Himself to have a personal relationship with Him. I am more than a conqueror in Christ because He loves me, and His perfect love casts fear out of my life."
It's More Than a Feeling
Like I said before, the most important thing to God is that we love each other unconditionally. Love is not a theory or a gooey feeling; it's about how you treat people. And we start loving people with our thoughts. How do you think about people?
In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (AMP), we read that "love endures long and is patient and kind; love is never envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful…. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love…does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it…. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]."
If you're going to walk in love, you have to set your mind and keep it set that you're going to walk in love. Our natural tendency is to be selfish, but the solution to overcoming a selfish, self-centered life is to love aggressively. Start with your thoughts and make this your confession: "I love people and I enjoy helping them."
Galatians 5:13 (AMP) says God has called us to live in freedom through Christ, "only [do not let your] freedom be…an opportunity or excuse [for selfishness], but through love you should serve one another." I've found that when I'm focusing on others and how I can bless them, I'm more peaceful and have more joy. Make it your business to put a smile on someone's face and do something that makes someone's life better every day. Trust God to take care of you. If you stay busy trying to help others, you won't have time to worry about yourself. And you'll enjoy living a life of love.