If We Could Realise How Much God Loves Us
Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
I often think that if only we could fully realise how much God really does love us, so many of the problems we face in this world would be no more, and we would live in a paradise.
The Bible tells us in many places how much God loves us. It also tells us that God made us in his image, and that he wants us to be happy. It even tells us how to do that, by following the instructions that God, our creator, gave us.
Yet, as humans, so often we forget most of these things. Sometimes it seems like we forget all of them — as we determine to do things our own way.
God's Love is Everlasting
One of the first things we tend to forget is that God's love is everlasting.
For the mountains may depart, and the hills be removed; but my loving kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall my covenant of peace be removed, says Yahweh who has mercy on you.
The Bible tells us that God's love for us never ends.
Not Everything is Good for Us
While nothing can separate God from loving us, there are many things we can do that draw ourselves away from God, and his love, and make it harder for us to feel loved.
A lot of these, probably most of them, are presented to us as if they're going to make our lives better. This is very much like what the serpent said in the Garden of Eden:
Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which Yahweh God had made... The serpent said to the woman, "You won't surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God"...
Which was a lie, a trick. A false promise.
The world is full of false promises. And many of them are there to promise us various ways that are supposed to make us feel loved. It's easy for us to be fooled, since even the Devil himself can appear like an angel of light. And so too, his servants can appear as if they are on the side of good, rather than evil:
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as Christ's apostles. And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light. It is no great thing therefore if his ministers also masquerade as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
How Can We Tell What's Good and What's Evil?
So with all these false things presented to us, as if they're going to be good for us — how can we tell if what we do is helpful to our lives, or harmful?
This is a very big question. Which, in one sense, is even bigger than Christianity itself. At least in the way many people see it. That is, many people see Christianity as something harmful, a trick even — a false promise made by people in order to get us to do things that will help those people.
However if you read about the lives of the early Christians (and many later ones also) — including of course Jesus himself — they did not receive earthly rewards (like riches, an impressive title, and other kinds of worldy status) in return for their devotion to following God's ways. In fact it was often the complete opposite — they recieved persecution and torment from other people in this mortal world.
The Bible gives us a good example of the types of things that Satan (and all that which is in alignment with him, and against God) promises us, at the start of the Book of Matthew, Chapter 4:
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
When he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry afterward. The tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." But he answered, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'"
Then the devil took him into the holy city. He set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, 'He will give his angels charge concerning you.' and, 'On their hands they will bear you up, So that you don't dash your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "Again, it is written, 'You shall not test the Lord, your God.'"
Again, the devil took him to an exceedingly high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory. He said to him, "I will give you all of these things, if you will fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Get behind me, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'"
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.
These kinds of worldly temptations are so much more effective when we already feel cut off from God's love. Then, we start to think that we need something else, other than what God is providing us with in our lives, under his holy power and authority and wisdom.
Remembering just how much we are truly loved by God can help greatly in resisting these kinds of things, which only harm us, and take us even further away from feeling the love of God.
The solution is to constantly think, pray, and meditate on just how much God truly does love us. Fortunately, the Bible is full of advice which helps remind us of this.
Another solution is to be on the lookout for things that promise us the kinds of earthly rewards that Satan would promise us — which are a lot different to the simple, faithful, everlasting love that God has for us.
We Can Always Return to God's Love
It's also good to know that no matter how far we may have strayed from the path of following God's ways, and feeling God's love, it's always possible for us to return to him:
For thus said the Lord Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, In returning and rest shall you be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.
Nothing Can Separate Us From the Love of God
And that once we determine to follow God's path, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Could oppression, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Even as it is written, "For your sake we are killed all day long. We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter."
No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.