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Jesus' Love: Not a Cliché

You have no idea how much I want to reach through this screen, hold your hand, and tell you the truth about Jesus. Not what the world says about Him or those who claim to love Him but whose lives seem to say otherwise. No, I’m talking about the real Jesus. The One whose love extends far deeper, reaches far wider and burns far brighter than anything we can imagine, even if we have all eternity to think about it.


Jesus is not a vengeful God who enjoys punishing people every time they make a mistake. He does not scrutinize our every move, waiting to condemn us when we slip up. He does not relish in our suffering, nor does He demand perfection from us, knowing we can never attain it.


Jesus is none of these things. In fact, He is the complete opposite. The love Jesus has for broken people like you and me literally extends beyond our comprehension.


He welcomes us with open arms when we make a mistake, admit it and ask for His forgiveness, which He extends abundantly. He watches over us, prays for us and provides exactly what we need, when we need it, whether it be strength, wisdom, faith, shelter or provision.

Peg letter board saying, "Jesus is worth everything you are afraid of losing," in all caps
Emma Shappley photo | Unsplash

He sees us for exactly who we are and takes us under His wing. He cares for us. He thinks about us. He loves us. So much so, He willingly took on our sins—every act, thought and desire we have that goes against God—and the penalty they deserve—God’s righteous judgment—so we could live forever right with God.


He is not to blame for our sins, we alone are. That may not feel good to hear, but it’s the truth. Yes, God is in absolute control, but He also allows us to choose for ourselves what we do, think and believe. It’s called free will. God easily could have made us into mindless drones who cannot think or act on our behalf, but He didn’t. Why?


Well, one, He made us in His image, and He can and does think, act and believe for Himself. We are not equal to Him, but made in His image, unlike everything else in our world. Another reason He gave us free will is because He knows forced love is not love at all. It’s an obligation.


When we choose to love God, He knows it is because we earnestly desire Him and a relationship with Him. This alone is ample proof of His love: the freedom to choose Him.


Think about it. No one enjoys having their basic rights restricted, let alone withheld. How, then, would you feel if a God who supposedly deeply loved you deprived you of free will? Would you feel loved, valued or respected? What about free?


And what about God’s perspective? Would you feel loved if your spouse, child or friend loved you only because they had to and had no say in the matter? Would their love feel genuine? How then do you think God would feel if none of His children—the very people He created—loved Him because they wanted Him for Him?


The love Jesus has for broken people like you and me literally extends beyond our comprehension.

God wants us but He also wants us to want Him. He also knows that when you choose Him, really choose Him, you will never regret your decision, and He doesn’t want to take that realization away from you.


When you do choose Him, your life will not immediately be perfect, nor will it ever reach perfection this side of Heaven, but you will change. Your life will never be the same. It may sound cliché or too good to be true, but it’s not. This is the one time it is absolutely true.


The moment you give God your everything, nothing can separate you. In Romans 8:38-39 we read:


“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor

things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


Not because of your merit. Not because you earned it. Not because you’ve been a good person long enough so you can cash in your “get into Heaven” tokens, but because God loves you. He wants a relationship with you. Jesus died on the cross for you; therefore, every mistake you have made is as if it never happened.


Notecard with "Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest," written in cursive
Miriam G photo | Unsplash

This does not give us free rein to keep sinning (purposefully doing what we know hurts God and goes against everything He says and is) but freedom from things that weigh us down, things like guilt, confusion, shame and hate. And once God removes these burdens from you, your heart will be so light, you will want nothing other than more of the One who made it possible.


Gone are the days of trying to fix yourself. God loves you so much, He’s asking you to come as you are. Come with your brokenness. Come with your desperation. Come with your questions. Just come.


Jesus said He came to heal the sick and save sinners (Mark 2:17, Luke 19:10), and that includes you. God knows everything about you, from the number of lashes around your eyes to every thought you have had. He knows it all, and still, He says, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).


However, this promise of rest and redemption is not one-size-fits-all in the sense that it pertains to everyone, regardless of your relationship with God. Every promise of salvation Jesus professed is to those who believe in Him, those who go all-in for Him. This was the message Jesus shared with Nicodemus, a zealous religious leader who thought his Jewish lineage and good deeds as a leader secured his spot in Heaven. Part of their conversation is recorded in the book of John; here Jesus tells Nicodemus what has come to be the most quoted verse in the Bible: “‘For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life’” (John 3:16, emphasis mine).


Just two chapters later, Jesus again said, “‘Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me (God the Father) has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (5:24, emphasis mine).


Gone are the days of trying to fix yourself. God loves you so much, He’s asking you to come as you are.

One of Jesus’ first followers, the apostle Peter, spoke the same message when talking with a group of people who had asked what they must do to be saved. Peter’s response did not revolve around good works one must do, but on the same message Jesus shared with Nicodemus. Peter replied, “‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38).


When we believe in Jesus and go all-in for Him, we realize the depravity of our souls, the gravity of our sins and the separation they cause between us and God, and our inability to provide the solution. When we see God for who He is and ourselves for who we are in comparison, we begin to understand the grace and mercy the Father showed us in sending Jesus to die for our sins, though He Himself never sinned.


When we accept all of this, we desire to repent of our sins, choosing to turn away from everything which separated us from God and relinquish control of our lives to the One who created them, our Creator and Father, God Almighty.

Cross reading, "Jesus loves you," and "Come love Him"
Chris Dixon photo | Unsplash

This is what it means to believe in Jesus. It is more than mere lip service, it is a complete sacrificial turnaround. You may not completely understand everything the moment you finally decide to believe in Jesus, but fortunately for us all, God does not require it. All He asks is for your heart in that moment and for you to trust Him with the rest. As long as you sincerely profess your belief in Him, He will welcome you into His family.


And it is only then that all of Jesus’ promises regarding eternal salvation pertain to you. No, you don’t need to have all the answers, you just need to give your one answer to the One who does.


God longs to be in a relationship with you. He knows who you are and what you’ve done, and He still says, “Come. Come, My dear child. I have been waiting for you.”


Bring your baggage to the only One whose shoulders are strong enough to carry it. He already bore the weight of sin and death and He conquered them both, completely and forever. Will you allow Him to carry you and your burdens? Will you accept the love and deliverance He extends? Jesus says we are either for Him or against Him (Matthew 12:30). On which side do you stand?





References:


English Standard Version Bible. (2001). Crossway Bibles.



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