Published Mar 8, 2022
By Tera Lind
It was just five little words, but they’ve stayed with me for years, and I believe they will be with me forever.
Being a Christian for over a decade and working in full-time ministry, I intellectually knew that this statement was true. I have heard the sermons. I have prayed these truths. I have, of course, read Jesus’s own words through the Bible. That was why I was so surprised when in my mind (with the attitude of a thirteen-year-old), I immediately asked, “Why?”
Why would God love me?
Why would He delight in me?
Why would He find joy in me?
Why was it so hard to believe that He loved me? Over the last few years, God began to show me three major themes over and over.
1. The first theme seems simple enough: I struggle to understand His love, because I struggle to love myself.
I’m not talking about the over-the-top-self-help type of love. There is a need for self-denial and self-forgetfulness in our faith. But God also calls us to walk in humble confidence. Not in ourselves, but of who we are in Christ. I am a daughter of God. An heir with Christ. Rather than seeing myself this way, I saw myself as His worker at best or a disappointment at worst. I never felt like I did enough. I was always falling short of my own standards, much less God’s standards.
About this time, I was starting to feel physical pain and I couldn’t figure out why it was happening. There was no medical reason. As I prayed about why I was feeling this pain, the word that God kept giving to me was “self-condemnation.” I really didn’t even know what that meant. I spent some time looking into it, and God opened the door to show me the number of ways that I was critical towards myself.
I took steps to overcome this lie by preaching the gospel to myself daily.
Self-condemnation is the false belief that God condemns me for being human and making mistakes. I knew I’d still sin after becoming a Christian, because God did not strip away my humanity when I was saved. But the Gospel tells me in Romans 5:8 – “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Preaching the Gospel to myself meant going back to what Jesus did for me on the cross. Jesus lived a perfect life so that I didn’t have to strive to live one perfectly. He died and rose again so that I can be seen by God in His perfection, not my own. Trying to be perfect meant I was walking in a works-based religion rather than a gospel by grace freedom.
2. He showed me that I give too much weight to my feelings over truth.
Feelings are wonderful. They were created by God. But feelings can lie too. As wonderful as they are, the enemy loves to use them against us because emotions are so powerful. They color our perception of everything, including ourselves and others. And what we perceive is how we act towards others (and ultimately ourselves). When I realized this, I began to realign my feelings under God’s truth.
This refueled my desire to read, memorize, and speak God’s Word over my life. Bible verses like the ones below came to life again and became my firm foundation to stand in truth.
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zeph. 3:17 ESV
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
3. God revealed that I’m looking through the wrong mirror to see myself
God placed a young girl in my life as a mirror to me on how I saw God’s love. This young girl did not believe she was beautiful or that anyone could love her. She struggles to understand other’s love so she, in turn, struggles to understand God’s love.
God used this young girl to open my eyes to see His love for me. As I spoke love and life over her, I could sense God allowing me to see my own young, insecure self. When I spoke words of truth over her, it was almost like I was speaking the same truth over myself.
But we all, with unveiled faces, looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18
When we see God for who He is, this act of understanding the nature of Christ begins a process through which God transforms His children into an image-like form.
I still have room to grow, but today if you’d ask me if God delights in me, you’d hear an energetic “Yes!”. Through preaching the gospel to myself, by reading and praying God’s truth over my life, and by reminding another about how much God loves us, He’s done incredible work in my soul.
When it comes to answering the question, “why would God love me?”, I’m learning that it’s not the way I see myself, but the way that God sees me, and that makes all the difference.