God loves us and he wants us to love each other!

This is the theme for our children’s program in August. It is the truth we want sinking deep into our children’s hearts at Grace Bible Church, but it’s the truth we all need to hear again and again: God loves us–God loves you! God loves me! 

I used to think that being loved by God was the fuel I needed to love others. If I really grasped what it meant to be loved by God I would be motivated to love him back and love others, too. It was a sort of deal I had with God, a return on his investment in my life. “Look at the way you loved me by giving everything to me in Jesus. The least I could do in return is love whoever crosses my path today…”

But I have found this to be a heavy burden, one I am not fit to carry. I blunder it time and again. When I’m honest, I have to admit that my motivation to pay my debts flounders. Sometimes it seems like a great idea to give God all by serving others in love; sometimes I’d rather not think about it. What does it mean to love others anyway? Sometimes I simply forget.

There will always be obstacles that hinder our drive to do the good things we think we should do. But is that the purpose of God’s love for us? Is it meant to be a motivator?

Or is God’s love meant to be my identity?

I’m starting to understand that “beloved” is the foundation of who I am and all I am becoming. As I live my days loved by God, I am gaining the freedom I need to love others with kindness, warmth and generosity, without fear of what’s in it (or not!) for me. Being “beloved” of God is softening the hard edges of my soul and producing a care for others I didn’t know was possible. “We love because he first loved us,” writes John (1 John 4:19). This isn’t an obligatory love. It’s a love that comes out of who we are, something birthed–and sustained–by God’s Spirit in us.

Our children are growing taller each day and each day they are taking in truths–and not truths–that are shaping their identities. Would you join me in praying this month that our Grace kids would believe the truth that they are deeply loved by God? Would you pray that they would be marked by God’s love in a way that will make them a source of love in their families and the communities they are growing up in? Thank you for remembering our children and all the ways you speak blessing into their lives!