Even if you are the non-churched, alcoholic, adulterer, and/or sinner…do you know how much God loves you?
- Jim Shempert
Most Christians have things they do because of their devotion to Christ. Some watch the kids at church and some visit the hospitals, nursing homes, and funeral homes. One of the things 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.
There is a culmination on the next to last day; a clear display of the sacrificial love of Christ. It is meant to be overwhelming to the senses displaying 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 today is, “Do you know how much God loves you?” New convert or 50-year disciple, do you know how much God loves you? Even if you are the non-churched, alcoholic, adulterer, and/or 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 says,
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.
The message is the same for everybody. We are all guilty before God due to Original Sin. 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.
If we paint a picture of a life with Christ as an easy road, we do a disservice not only to Christ but to the believer. Life with Christ is not easy. It brings many challenges 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 Christ is to invite scorn from the world because it has never been 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 makes it clear that nothing in this life can separate us from Christ. Once you are a disciple of Christ you are sealed with the Holy Spirit. Just as I can pick out my child from a distance, Christ can see His disciples 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 at the right hand of the Father continually interceding on your behalf?
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” (Matthew 11:28-30).
My hope this day and every day is that you 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 compels you forward.