"We love Him because He first loved us."
Such a simple verse, yet so hard to comprehend for so many. I am amazed when I hear another Christian voice their wonderment that Jesus could really love them. The implied inference is unspoken: "How could this Son of God, who is God, himself, possibly care about someone as insignificant as me?"
They have obviously forgotten that childhood song we all learned .... Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so. For many of us, that sense of Jesus as a familiar friend, a close confidante, a personal champion has been lost. He has become a distant Being who governs the affairs of the world, but certainly has no interest in the trivial details of our existence.
I sometimes think the Church is to blame for this remote and indirect God. Down through the centuries the knowledge of Jesus as a man who came to be with us on a personal level has been replaced by a Jesus who rules from a distance and is far removed from our personal lives. Nothing could be further from the Truth!
Jesus came to dwell among us to show us just how much He does love us --- each and every one of us! He is knowable .... He wants to be knowable . He desires that you come to Him easily and eagerly, with all your cares and issues. It is in the midst of these personal dialogues with Him that you will come to know Him intimately.
But here's where people get hung up. If you pay attention, you will become aware of God reaching out to you, seeking a relationship with you. It can be through the reading of Scripture, when a particular verse pricks your conscience. Or it can be through a "coincidental" meeting with another person who introduces you to a new thought about who God is. But here's the deal .... You have to respond! If you respond to His approach, you will find that He takes another step and draws you closer. We can see this pattern in the relationships God had with men throughout the Bible.
You see it in His relationships with Abraham, Noah, and Moses, for instance. God makes the first move, and when these men respond to His nudge, their relationship begins. And each time these men respond in growing obedience, God draws them closer and closer until they have intimate conversations with Him and their relationship becomes extraordinarily personal.
We can have that kind of relationship with God, too! We think of Abraham, Noah and Moses in the Old Testament, and disciples such as Peter and John as heroes of the Bible. How could we possibly expect a relationship like theirs with the God of the Universe? But that's the point! Their God is the same God as ours. And you and I can have the same kind of warm, talkative, interactive connection that they had. They were men just like us; no different than us. They just answered when God approached them.
I'm sure they were often puzzled over why they were chosen; why God picked them above all others. It's not that He loved them more. God does not love some more and others less. It is precisely because He loves us all and desires us all to become His children, that He sacrificed His only son to a brutal and sadistic death. Jesus died on the cross so that we could have the opportunity for this kind of personal relationship with Him.
Yes, we do love because He loved us first, and He sought us and reached out to us. But I don't want my love towards Him to be as towards a distant and aloof Deity. I want my love towards Him to be deeply personal, private and comfortably familiar. But I must warn you that like any other relationship, one must take the time to develop it and one must nourish it and work at it. But that's where the blessings come in! You will find that God wants this relationship even more than you do. Answer His beckoning call and enter into the most rewarding association you will ever have!