God's View of Your Past (1)

  • When we feel like we are not good enough to be loved by God, we should remember that God’s love is greater than our doubts. Consider the kind of extravagant love the Father has lavished on us. He calls us children of God! It’s true; we are His beloved children.

    Let me drop this scripture in here. 1 John 4:16. “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.” The New Living Translation says it this way. “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.”

    These are two powerful statements from Malcolm Smith. “God’s love for us is so great and so vast and without condition that it appears scandalous to those who are religious and works/performance oriented”.

    Then he adds “God who is love refuses to be God without us. He is the one that must come where we are. He is unalterably, unconditionally unendingly for you”.

    In order to hear the voice of God’s loving assurance first you must silence the sounds of condemnation. Remember, He has selected us to be part of His family.

    We’ve read about God’s love. We’ve heard about it. But I don’t think many of us have really believed it. If we did, it would totally change everything about us and everything around us.

    You’ve heard me say that I believe that one of the bigger problems in the church today is that people don’t really believe that God loves them. In many of our ministry sessions at the prisons, I would ask the question “How many of you don’t really believe God loves you”? Nearly every hand would be raised.

    I would teach the men about God’s love and how ecstatic He is about us. Telling them God never has a bad day when it comes to us. He is so enamored by us that He can hardly contain Himself. When I prayed for them I would say “God let them know how much you love them”.

    It is extremely difficult for them to let go of their past. How can God love us, they ask. Just look how badly we have messed up. This mindset is not limited to the inmates in those prisons, because there are “believers” that sit in churches across the country every Sunday that have the same problem.

    They are prisoners to works and performance oriented Christianity. They are bound by religion and legalism. They just cannot receive the truth that God loves them. They are prisoners to the law, legalism, and the enemy. Unlike Paul who stated He was a prisoner of Jesus Christ. They haven’t realized that there is nothing they can DO to make God love them more and there is nothing they can do to make God love them less.

    It was His great love for us that caused Jesus to lay down His life for us and to experience for Himself all the pains and weaknesses we experience. It’s that love that says to us, even when we feel so unworthy, “Come to Me and get what you need. Don’t be shy about it”. I’ve been there. Matthew 11:28-30 says it this way.

    28 Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

    Don’t miss the small words in scripture. Those are the ones that really tell you what is being said. First Jesus says “Come”. Then He defines who He’s talking to – “all”. All who are weary and burdened.

    We all get to a point of being weary and burdened. When you live in this world, weariness and burdens will come your way. Our fast paced, need it now, hurry up, lifestyles will produce stress, weariness, and burdens. Jesus said “I will”, “I will”, “I will” GIVE you rest.

    So let us apply our learned rules about language concerning grammar and sentence structure. Here’s the verse again. Read the bolded part, ignoring the unbolded portion and you get a glimpse of how loving God is. Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

    There are no conditions that must be met for Him to give you rest. He said I WILL. There is no “if” statement in that verse. That’s because we have a covenant not a contract. We have promise, not performance. We have receiving, not achieving. Let’s move on to the next verse.

    29 Put My yoke upon your shoulders—it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest.

    Here in Costa Rica, we do a lot of walking. Since we do not own a vehicle, we use the fabulous bus system. That means when we purchase groceries, hardware items, lamps, fans, and other stuff from town, we have to carry them home somehow. To do that, we have backpacks and strong fabric bags. When the backpack gets filled up, it is a burden until it is put on properly on the shoulders. Once the straps have been adjusted, it fits perfectly.

    That’s what Jesus is saying here. When concerns come your way about your past or your present that are too heavy to bear, and you just can’t fathom how God could possibly love you, PUT on His yoke.

    Just now, while I was writing the paragraph above, God spoke to me and said the yoke I desire people to put on is my grace and love, but it is difficult or heavy for them. That’s because they have not gotten past trying to carry their load all by themselves. They have not moved into the receiving stage.

    30 For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.

    Here is a scripture in Hebrews that confirms what Jesus said above. Hebrews 4:16 “So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most”.

    One of the reasons we have trouble in our lives is because we try to control everything without any help. 2 Corinthians 5:14-16 spells out specifically what the controlling force in our lives ought to be and the results. Here it is in the Voice translation.

    14 You see, the controlling force in our lives is the love of the Anointed One. And our confession is this: One died for all; therefore, all have died. 15 He died for us so that we will all live, not for ourselves, but for Him who died and rose from the dead. 16 Because of all that God has done, we now have a new perspective. We used to show regard for people based on worldly standards and interests. No longer. We used to think of the Anointed the same way. No longer.

    I actually like this set of scriptures in the New Living Translation.

    14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. 16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!

    This is such a prophetic statement by the Holy Spirit through Paul. Look at the declaration in these scriptures. “Christ’s love controls us.” Since we believe, His love controls us, if we will yield to it. Paul is declaring we have yielded to it. He’s speaking from that position or perspective.

    “Those who receive.” In all of our teachings on this website, you will find over and over that we emphasize that it is in the receiving that grace abounds, not in achieving. Once you receive, you KNOW Him differently. These are powerful scriptures about God’s great love and grace.

    Think about it. God is in love with you–so in love, He’s given you everything He has! He’s given you all the healing, all the wisdom, all the wealth, all the strength you could ever need. I said GIVEN. It’s not something you earned by being good or something you lose by being bad. Even so, here comes the ya but ministry folks. “Ya but what about my terrible past?”

    Maybe this quote from Graham Cooke will help with that question. “One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to utterly convince you that you are completely, compellingly loved by God regardless of how you are showing up. That means to God it doesn’t matter, in that sense, whether you are doing well or doing badly. He has already chosen how He is going to be towards you, and He doesn’t change.”

    That’s what His mercy is for! It’s taken care of your past. It’s covered every sin and failure you ever had. All you have to do now is believe and receive His love. GRACE IS NOT JUSTICE, BECAUSE IT’S ABOVE FAIR. Grace does not excuse sin, but instead it empowers us to live righteously.

    The Holy Spirit points out truth to you, not your faults. He convicts you with truth telling not fault finding. God does not see you in the present, He sees you in your perfection.

    The neat thing about trusting in the finished work of the cross and resting in God’s ridiculous, radical, inexhaustible grace is that you cannot be condemned. How can anyone who is already accepted, be condemned?

    What a shame it is that people suffer at the hands of sickness and disease and every other cursed thing just because they can’t believe what the love God has for them. Don’t let that happen to you. Learn to believe the love.

    Believe the love God has for you. It’s already been released in the blood of Jesus. Believe the love. It’s already been released in Jesus’ Name. Believe the love. It’s already been released in His Word.

    Meditate on the scripture in 1 John 4:16 over and over. Say it to yourself again and again all day, “I believe the love Jesus has for me.” Once it gets down into your heart, you’ll never be the same again.

    God loves us for ourselves, not for our efforts to please Him. He values our love more than our performance. He valued our lives more than he valued His Son’s life. “He sacrificed the very life, for those who caused the death, of the very life He sacrificed.” Mark Kunerth.

    Quit getting bound up in performance based Christianity. Just because someone else received from the Lord by performing a set of actions doesn’t mean the same thing will happen to you if you follow all of their methods. God has an unlimited way of getting his mercy, favor and grace to you. He is not limited to a set of procedures or guidelines. We ought to learn to command the manifestation instead of trying to perfect the methodology.

    This is a good stopping point for part 1 of this teaching. We will begin part 2 with Ephesians 3 starting in verse 14 as we continue to reveal God's immeasurable love for us.