Have you ever been loved so fiercely that the person who loved you never asked you to love them back? Have you ever been in a relationship where your lover actually asked nothing from you, expected nothing of you, went on loving you when you rejected and neglected and even if you cheated on them?
Yes, you have. You are in a relationship like that. That’s what our relationship with Jesus is like.
When we meet Him for the first time we can’t believe the weight of relief, of gratitude, of delight, of amazement that this awesome wonderful King would love us enough to die for us while we were still in the middle of our sin. While we were still in the middle of rejecting Him. We cannot fathom such grace that would go to the cross in our place, that would look at our sin and love us still, unrelentingly, passionately, eternally.
And then life happens. We carry on in our walk with Jesus, and very soon we begin to see a shift in our thinking. We start to put the burdens of ‘works’ on ourselves, even when we try so hard not to. We all of a sudden forget that He who saved us from our sin is still saving us from our sin, every single day. We think we have to ‘toe the line’. We think we have to ‘be good’. We think if we don’t love Him enough He will stop loving us.
Nothing could be further from the truth. He is still the same Jesus that went to hell and back for us, and He will not give up on us. He says nothing can separate us from His love, and that is true; nothing can. And if we think for one minute that now we have been saved it’s just a case of ‘being good’, we are so wrong. Have you tried it? Are you worn out yet? I know it takes me less than an hour and I am an exhausted mess on the floor.
So where does that leave us? At His feet. Where do we go from there? If you’re like me you so desperately want to please Him, so desperately want to love Him the way He deserves, to obey Him whole-heartedly and live for Him every day. Why can’t we get our hearts to agree with our heads? We know all this stuff, but then in the practical every day, we fall into sin again and again and again. Old familiar sins, new sins, habitual sins.
Jesus has been teaching me, and it’s a lifelong lesson, that the same power that saved me in the beginning is working in my life every single moment, whether I sense it or not, whether I work with Him or not. But I want to say, but Jesus, what can I do?
And what does He say to me?
“Let me love you.”
He says, “Be drenched in the deluge of my grace and love for you. Enjoy my love, and open your heart in honesty and vulnerability to me. You need me. You can’t do life without me. That’s OK. That’s more than OK. You were never meant to.” I need Jesus every day, every hour, every moment. I’m not well. My malaise is spiritual— trapped in a body still so predisposed to sin, trapped in a flesh that rejects Jesus, despite the fact that my spirit tells me I should adore Him. “Let me love you. Surrender your heart to me, stop striving. Realise that there is nothing you can do to make me love you more, nothing you can do to make me love you less. Only one thing is needed: sit at my feet, and let me love you.”
Jesus came that we may have life, and have it to the full. So what on earth does that look like? Letting Him love us. Surrendering and yielding to His saving work in our lives. By simply beholding His face, and letting Him love us, we allow Him to transform us from the inside out. We learn who we are in Him: His. The fact that we are His is the truest thing about us.
I had asked myself in the past why God is a jealous God. Isn’t that quite selfish of Him? But this morning I felt a revelation on that front. He is jealous because He knows that when I turn away from Him, and to the things that bind me, my sins, my ‘idols’ if you will, I become trapped, I become ensnared. I get hurt. And He is fierce against anything that would hurt me. Because He loves me. He is jealous because He made me for relationship with Him and He knows that nothing else will satisfy, heal or love me like He can. He knows that anything other than a life drenched in His love is a half-life, a restless life, a painful life. Oh, that we would know His love. Oh, that we would let Him love us. Oh, that we would be drenched in His life-giving, life-transforming love.