Devotions

Punch Bowl

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.1 John 4:7-12 

Insight

Sometimes you are the guy who asks the homecoming queen to the big dance and other times you are the guy who chickens out and spends his time by the punch bowl. Unfortunately, I was the latter. Here's a bit of the backstory. One day in study hall, a friend said Bree had told her she was hoping I asked her to the dance. She was pretty much every guy's dream girl, so needless to say, I thought I was dreaming up this whole scenario. After pinching my friend and myself, I realized this was the real deal.

Instead of acting on this new tidbit of information, I began to fret over why this new information couldn't be true. I wasn't tall enough. I wasn't a jock. I didn't run in the same social circles. I was broke and drove an "in town" car (aka it only went 45MPH before rumbling). I stumbled over my words anytime I tried to talk to her. How could Bree like me? She was way out of my league. A girl like Bree could never have affection for a guy like me. 

So, the time came and went, and I sat on this "too good to be true" information. Bree attended the dance with someone else and so did I. Just in case you were wondering, around the time we graduated, I finally mustered the courage to ask her if the rumor was true. She told me indeed it was.

Now before you kick me and ask, "What were you thinking?" let me ask you something. Don't we tend to do the same thing when it comes to questioning God's affection for us? It's easy to believe that God could love other people. We struggle to comprehend how or why God would love us. We nod our heads when we hear God loves in the general sense, but hesitate when it comes to a personal level.

Just like me, we begin to list the reasons why we are unworthy of love. It could be the labels we place on ourselves or the lies we believe about ourselves. It might be mistakes of the past or the failures of the present. Eventually, we conclude there is no way God could love someone as horrible, evil, insignificant, messed up and ugly (or fill in the blank with whatever label you want) as ourselves. We reason we aren't valuable or worthy enough for God's love. And as a result, we spend most of our days trying to prove ourselves worthy of God's love.

Take a moment to pause and reflect on today's passage. GOD IS LOVE. It's part of His nature. He is love; we are loved — all of us, including yourself. And if you doubt this is true, let me remind you of Romans 5:8. God didn't wait for us to earn His love or make ourselves presentable. He made the first move. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He loved first.

God loves the popular athlete, and the one passed over. God has affection for the adventurous and the awkward. God seeks out a relationship with the famous and the failure. God pursues the beloved and the broken. God died for you and me. So, if you know God loves you, the choice is yours. Are you going to ask Him to the dance or sit by the punch bowl? 

Reflection

·     What are the implications of God being love?

·     What makes you doubt God's love for you? 

Prayer

God, I can't comprehend why You would love someone like me. It wouldn't take me long to come up with reasons why it doesn't make sense. You know all about me, but You still choose to love me. May I not doubt Your love, but instead find rest and peace within it. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

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