You do not have because you do not ask. (James 4:3)
Jesus was quite clear on how we should understand the Father. It was quite simple… The Father loves you! Over and over and over Jesus revealed this reality to His disciples and the people that followed Him. Even the signs and wonders he did were merely to reveal the heart of the Father to the world. Love, Love, Love!
It is strange how although every page of the Gospels is filled with this message, people still somehow miss it. But I think I know what the reasons for this are.
For some it is the fact that they never received love from their earthly father, and so they do not have a framework from which to understand the love of their heavenly Father. And although they might understand that the Father loves them in theory, it has never become (what some would call) a “heart revelation” and because of that they have never experienced it either.
The other thing is that people often read what they want to read. They focus on what they want to focus. People who are pursuing righteousness on their own will see all the rules and commandments of the Lord, and miss the elements connected to grace and love. Others, who are fixated on theology will look at the scriptures from an academic perspective and try to validate opinions with theological arguments instead of just accepting and living out the beautiful truths within it. And the list carries on.
But no matter what you do or do not see in the scriptures and no matter what your motive or framework, the point remains. God loves you with an unquenchable fiery love.
Now the question arises: How do you let the Lord’s love in? How do you let the Lord love you?
Well, let me illustrate using a personal example.
I was fortunate enough to grow up with a very loving father. And although he is not perfect (like all fathers), He did get one thing right – He loved unconditionally. No matter what I did or how I acted, his love never changed. In fact, it would usually only get stronger. And, although he had certain normal expectations of me (like passing high school…), even when I didn’t live up to them all, He never rejected me. He always loved me for me, in the good times and especially in the bad times. He was without a doubt a gift from above designed to teach me the heart of my Heavenly Father. And the main thing I learnt was that the Father loves unconditionally.
Secondly, I learnt that the Father actually likes loving me. You see, when you have a loving father, he is not shy to give you affection. My father wore his heart on his sleeve. He told us every day how much he loved us and confirmed it with his actions. He was open and real about his love for us. It was not something he would hide away. In fact, he would express it passionately, with daily hugs, kisses, and often with tears in his eyes. He actually enjoyed loving us. And his emotions and affections towards us confirmed it. And so by this I learnt that unconditional love has an expression. It is a daily experience. Not just an understanding. And just like my Father’s excitement and enthusiasm to pour his love onto me, I learnt that my heavenly Father absolutey delights in and desires to pour His love onto us daily.
Now, you might be asking, “so, if God loves me like this, why do I not feel loved? Why do I not experience the daily outworking of His unconditional love? Where is the affection?”
The answer is two-fold. In many respects you do experience the outworking of His unconditional love without even realising it. As a child, the bed that you sleep in, the food that you eat, and the clothing that you wear are all tangible outworkings of your Father’s love. They are Provision. A very powerful and practical expression of a Father’s love. Jesus helps us understand this reality on many occasions in the gospels. And the main way we are taught to access this is by asking.
…ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7
…how much more will the heavenly Father give… to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13
Now, the emotional side of love, like receiving hugs, kisses and hearing the words “I love you” are also very important. And usually this is the side that most people are looking for. They want a love that makes them “feel” loved. They want affection. And there is nothing wrong with that. We were designed to need and enjoy affection. And the Father desires to give you this love just as much as He desires to provide for you.
The question is “How do you experience it? How do you let the Lord love you with affection?”
Well, the answer is simple: Just ask! The Father knows that you need affection. He has designed you that way. In fact, he designed you that way so that you could experience his Love in greater depth. And just like He provides for your physical needs, He will also provide for you emotional needs. He will provide ALL your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:19) So do not be afraid or shy. He delights to give you His Love. He delights to provide for you. It is just who He is. A loving Father.
So Just Ask!
This blog is the 3rd in a series. Click on the links below to see the rest: