God not only loves you, He likes you.
But how much energy and time do we all expend on such things as fear, anxiety and being overly concerned with thinking about what we think others think about us?
We live with too much fear of God. Partly its bad theology, but mostly we fear we’ve never experienced the kind of love that’s manifest in God and we take for granted that anyone who sees us as we really are (in our unloveliness, weaknesses, pathology, sin) will, in the end, be as disappointed with us as we are with ourselves.
At the end of the day, we expect that God is disappointed with us and will greet us with a frown. The tragedy and sadness here is that, because we think that God is disappointed in us, especially at those times when we are disappointed with ourselves, we try to avoid meeting the one person, one love, and the one energy, God, that actually understands us, accepts us, delights in us, and is eager to smile at us.” (Roland Rolheiser)
If the gift of the Holy Spirit means anything at all—and it does—it means that God not only loves us, He likes us. And the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives affirms both of these things. In Luke 3, look at what happens when the Holy Spirit comes upon Jesus:
…the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Do you see the affirmation of love that follows? It’s just like how Paul describes the presence of the Holy Spirit:
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Rom 5)
And of course, the fruit of the Spirit is love says Paul in the letter to the Galatians.
May I strongly suggest that if you don’t think you are loved or liked, these thoughts do not come from God. They likely come from your own thinking, the unloving words of others—or from the Father of Lies, as Jesus called the devil. They don’t come from God, for God not only loves you, he really likes you.
And do you know what this can mean for you? You can love and like you too! Sure, you say some things you regret, you have thoughts that you’re glad no one else can see or hear, you have made some bad choices, and let’s face it—you have some habits and traits which can be just plain annoying, right? But through our faith in what Jesus has done for us, the Holy Spirit is given so that we can be like Jesus and live for Jesus. What was Jesus like? All the paper and ink in the world would run out if we were to describe and list all of the wonderful qualities of Jesus. However, we can say this: Jesus walked in deep intimacy with God in a reciprocal relationship of constant love. The hit of the Holy Spirit is an invitation from God to that type of living. Listen to Paul one last time:
Because you are his sons, and daughters God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” (Gal 4)
“Abba” is the Aramaic word for “Daddy” or “Dear Father”. It’s an intimate term denoting love and affection. God loves you and he also likes you. One way I pray this into reality in my life is by speaking the words God spoke over Jesus into my own life each day:
“[insert name here], you are my son/daughter, whom I love, and with whom I am well pleased”
Make it your prayer, and say it with faith until you believe it too. Imagine your life lived in the secure and liberating knowledge that you are loved, and liked, by God. Imagine our world if everyone knew that and lived from that reality?
I look forward to sharing with you this Sunday more about the gift of the Holy Spirit as we continue our series in the Book of Acts.