Accepting God’s Love

Have you received God’s love?

You may answer, “Yes of course! I follow Christ as my Savior. I know God’s love!”

The love that God has for His children is well communicated in the Scriptures. But I’m not asking if you know that the Lord loves you. I’m asking if you’ve received His love.

The Difference Between Knowing Of and Receiving God’s Love

The Lord reminded me that He wants us to know Him intimately. One of the prominent aspects of His nature is love. It’s not simply that He is a loving God, but that He IS love. Humanly speaking, love is part of God’s DNA. He can’t help but love us because He is love. His actions can’t be separated from His nature.

If you’re like me, however, knowing of God’s love and accepting it for myself are two entirely different things. I believe that I know myself well. I am a personal witness to my flaws, my shortcomings, my selfish behaviors and ugly attitudes.

In my head, I know He loves me. In my logic and reasoning, because I know my flaws, I feel that I must earn His love. I know how far short I fall from anything that resembles righteousness and tend to conclude that He might “like-love” me while wishing I behaved well enough that He could “love-love” me. Somehow I believe that the “love-love” sort of affection won’t come until I can measure up.

That’s false reasoning.

What we must remember is that God’s love isn’t earned. It’s given.

God so loved the world that He gave

God loved us before Christ washed us clean by His blood. He loved us before the foundation of the world. His love was present before I made that horrible decision. He loved me while I was a slave to sin, and He loves me as I walk in freedom.

I’ve shared the following story before, but feel it bears repeating:

Many months ago, stuck in a personal spiritual pit, I visited a church to receive prayer counsel. Two women led me in prayer. Before we began, they asked that I let them know when I felt the Lord’s presence, then they helped me seek the Lord for answers to specific questions.

Instructions were simple: The leader would ask me to ask God a specific question. I’d ask Him, then needed to let her know what the Holy Spirit revealed.

“Whoa, whoa, wait a minute,” I recall saying. “I don’t know if I can trust what I believe the Spirit says.” (Please know I wasn’t lacking in trust toward the Spirit, but questioning my own discernment.)

The leader counseled, “Don’t think about it or try to evaluate your answers. Just share with us the first thought, vision, idea, etc. that you receive.”

The process was beautiful and peace-filled. As we progressed, I had no doubt of the accuracy of what I discerned.

Not long into the prayer, the leader asked that I climb up to sit on the Father’s lap. She occasionally asked, “Are you still on His lap?” And I’d realize I’d wriggled away. She’d encourage me to return to that position as I sought His answers. This happened several times. For some reason, I had trouble staying on the Father’s lap.

The Year-Long Journey Toward God’s Love

Let’s fast forward to the following August—more than 12 months after my prayer appointment. Mike and I were out of town, headed to church and engaged in an argument.  If you’re going to argue with your spouse, there’s no better time than Sunday morning, right? 😉

Mike said words that hit my heart like a well-placed arrow: “You need to let yourself be loved.”

I knew he was right.

The worship that morning was profoundly Spirit-led. Each song pointed to God’s love for us. I started to tear up, then I cried, then I wept, and finally, I could no longer stand and melted. Mike kept his cool, continued to worship and rubbed my back as if this sort of meltdown happens every week at church.

There, bowed down in the auditorium, I felt the Lord whisper to my spirit, “The reason you couldn’t stay on my lap is that you haven’t received my love.” His reference went all the way back to the prayer counsel I’d received and explained, at last, the reason I had such trouble.

The timing was not coincidental. The two most trusted individuals in my life (my Lord and my husband), gave me similar encouragement on the very same day. I knew I couldn’t ignore it.

Accepting God’s Love . . . Daily

Since that day, part of my prayer routine includes a time of accepting all that God has for me. This includes, of course, His love. It also includes His forgiveness, grace, kindness, mercy, and friendship. It includes acceptance of His gifts, provision, and favor.

Accepting God’s love has become an intentional practice that I hope will someday become second nature. Even while I’m still learning to receive all that He gives, I know I’m stronger already.

The evidence came to light in our most recent trial, at a time when the Spirit revealed some terribly ugly and selfish tendencies that still reside in me. As He exposed the darkness in my life, He simultaneously shined the light of His love. Had I not spent the past many months learning to receive God’s love, I’m not sure I could have endured the heartache.

He means for us to accept and embrace His love so that it can strengthen us and shine through us.

On this day of love, Valentine’s Day, I pray that you can receive the most valuable gift of love ever given: The love of our Father in heaven.

Blessings,

 

 

Accepting God's Love

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5 Comments

  1. Vicky McClure

    Thank you , Cathy. That was wonderful. Happy Valentine’s day

    Reply
  2. Gaby

    Wow this post is filled with so much truth, we tend to mix the knowledge of God’s love to us with actually receiving it and accepting. I’ve learned that he loved me first. I’m still working on accepting it in a daily basis, because there’s things or arguments as you wrote, that make us feel guilty and unworthy of receiving his love.

    Thank you for this: “He simultaneously shined the light of His love” (even when we are showing darkness)

    God bless you! and please continue blessing other people’s lives including mine!

    Reply
    • Cathy McIntosh

      Thank you Gaby. I appreciate your encouragement (it blessed me) and that you stopped by the blog today!

      Reply
  3. Diane Holley

    Cathy,
    You will never know just how much this post means to me. It is a major puzzle piece in my life that I can now snap into place. God is so good! My journey has been long, but I’m now on the other side and watching God give me the ‘why’ of my past and the joy of my future is incredible.

    Reply
    • Cathy McIntosh

      What a blessing, Diane! Thanks for sharing a piece of your journey and the joy of your future. May the Lord bless you mightily as you accept His love and mercy. ❤️

      Reply

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