If you gave this question serous consideration, we probably need to talk.
The saddest words I hear from people are those that wonder if they are worthy of God’s love. That question is predicated on the biggest lie to find it’s way into God’s creation—that love can be earned.
Nothing disproves that lie better than the coming of Christ into our world that we celebrate at this Christmas season. He didn’t come to redeem people the Father was disgusted with, but those he loved. Even on the night Christ was born, the shepherds heard the angels proclaim, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
Pleased? Really? With all the brokenness in the world? Sin was rampant, Humanity was ever at war with itself and his own people were under Roman captivity and lost in their legalism. How could God be pleased with humankind?
Luke certainly didn’t mean God was pleased with the brokenness in his creation, but that he was pleased with humanity in spite of it. God’s love is not so fickle as to come and go based on how good we are. Love is love, even at our most broken, no less than you would have for your children. Our struggle in the darkness only endears us to him as his compassion seeks to rescue and redeem us.
We are all worthy of love because of the place we hold in Father’s heart. No failure, or broken place changes that. The prodigal son was loved as much when he was wasting his father’s money as he was when he returned home. It’s just that he wasn’t living in that love. He didn’t believe it and though he thought he had good evidence for his conclusion, they were based on the lie. Even when he returns home he considers himself “not worthy” to be called a son.
But he was worthy simply because of the value he held in his father’s heart. The joy of the Gospel is not in getting God to love us, but to relax into the reality of the love he already has for us. Those who grew up abused or neglected have a hard time embracing that. The rejection of their parents seemed proof that they were so flawed as to be unworthy of love. But that is just part of the lie.
Those who grow up in religious settings, who think their performance can endear them to God, fall victim to the same lie. You can’t earn what you already have. You are loved, no less today than when the Father conceived you in his heart before you were born.
That’s the Gospel. Believe it or not, the Creator of the universe is your loving Father. You have the choice to run to that love and embrace it, or hide outside of it as long as you want. Love offers a door; it doesn’t force it’s way.
He loves you as much as any other person on the planet. For those who don’t know that in the deepest part of your soul, Sara and I are praying that Father will reveal that to you and you will find the freedom to joyfully embrace how deeply he delights in you. That’s where this journey of faith truly begins.
And what a Christmas miracle that is!
Notes For the New Year:
Wayne’s Latest Book Is Almost Here
Beyond Sundays, Wayne’s newest book, will be available early in 2018. It will cost $12.00 and we’ll begin taking pre-orders in early January. It will also be available by e-book as soon as we can get that done.
This is an adaptation of blogs postings Wayne has written over the last year about the current dilemma of people leaving the traditional congregation and the opportunity it affords for the whole church to celebrate all the ways that Father is at work among his people and how he is preparing the bride for the return of his Son.
Travel Dates for Early in 2018
- Jacksonville, FL- January 18
- Raleigh, NC – January 19-22
- Greensboro, NC – January 23-24
- Charlotte, NC – January 25-29
- Phoenix, AZ- February
- Abilene, Tx – March 22-25
If you’re in these areas and still want to plan something, we do have some available time. Or if you just want to join us, please see our Travel Page, where details will be posted when we have them. If you’d like to be notified when I’m coming to your area you can sign up on our email list and include your address.
Thanks to the generosity of so many of you, we have given just under $200,000 this year to the people in Kenya with orphan children and to help the people in Pokot establish a sustainable future. We put in two agricultural projects so they can grow their own food, and have helped with hospital staff, medicine, food, education and micro-finance loans to help create enterprise. Get more information here.
Staying Up With Lifestream
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