DO YOU REALIZE JUST HOW LOVED YOU ARE?

DO YOU REALIZE JUST HOW LOVED YOU ARE?

Beloved child of God, today is one of those days that I love the most. It’s ‘stop and smell the flowers’ day; so let’s take a step back and count our blessings, and remind ourselves of just how much our Father loves us.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

There is much pleasure in simplicity, isn’t there? Hot pancakes in the morning; the smell of butter on toast; or even chips, beer and a movie. Nothing fancy, but very comforting.

It is the same in writing. Some of the most powerful words are the simplest, the shortest, the most easily overlooked. But when you pay attention to them, you begin to realize the extent and the degree of the intended impact.

And today, I have one such word for you – ‘so’.

Two letters, two sounds, one syllable, but a whole lot of meaning. Things can be ‘so good’ or ‘so bad’; or if you are in my neck of the woods, ‘so so’. Yes, there is meaning to the phrase ‘so so’. It means, nothing to shout about. Or it could be ‘just so’, perfect.

In fact, ‘so’ has been recognized by this current generation as being, pardon the pun, so rich and meaningful that they have extended the word for literary effect, making it soooooooooo much easier to understand just how good something is.

And I am therefore so glad that just about every translation of the Bible translates John 3:16 as either ‘God so loved the world’ or ‘God loved the world so much’. No matter how you skin that cat, the extent is always there; the richness of meaning, never lost.

But can I let you in on a little secret? You probably might not have realized this, but Jesus also said,

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20

Now, I know what you are thinking; when Jesus told Nicodemus,

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

He was referring to the people in the world, not the physical earth per se. Yes, you are right. But you do also remember that Jesus told us,

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” Matthew 6:26

Would you consider the birds to be part of what constitutes this earth? You would, wouldn’t you? And our Father loves them enough to feed them, even though they neither sow nor reap, nor gather into barns. They put no effort into their own survival. They don’t plan for their own retirement. Because, let’s face it, they really do have bird brains, don’t they?

“…yet your heavenly Father feeds them….” Matthew 6:26

Still not convinced? Then

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Matthew 6:28-29

Even the grass and flowers, who have no audible voice, and neither the ability nor will to act for themselves; even they are loved by our Father enough for Him to clothe them better than Solomon ever was. And here comes the clincher,

“Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” Mathew 6:30

Even for things that are temporal, passing away; for things that have no permanence; our Father looks after them and cares for them just the same. So when Jesus says,

“For God so loved the world...” John 3:16

You can bet your bottom dollar that God loves everything in this world; its people, its animals, its flowers, its grass, probably even its rocks, water and air.

And you know what? Our Father loves us so much that He even accommodates our limited human understanding. You know how He does that? Try judging how His love is most likely apportioned amongst the things of this earth by earthly standards. The most important will get the most love and the least important, the least love, right? So then, check out where we are in the packing order of this earth.

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26

Hey, we’re top dog. So even if we measure God’s love by our own selfish human standards, that means that God still loves us the most. Now how about that.

But you know, while all that should be of great joy and comfort to us; of greatest comfort should be the fact that even though Jesus acknowledged this world to be flawed, even though He told us to place our treasures in heaven and not on this earth, even though He said that because we are saved, we should differentiate ourselves from this world because,

“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” John 17:16

Still, “…God so loved the world...” John 3:16

So if you are staring at your flaws in the mirror right now, remember, even the world is flawed, yet “…God so loved the world...” John 3:16

So imagine just how much He loves you?

Beloved child of God, remember, no matter how ‘bad’ you have been,

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17

Instead, “…God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

So, do you realize now just how loved you are? Do you realize now just how much in our Father’s care you are? Then how can you be anything but confident that when you next face your problems, you are facing them with the full and complete backing of our Father? Indeed, Paul said it best,

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

There is no power, on this earth or anywhere else, that can ever separate you, disqualify you, discount you, stand in your way of, or block your access to our Father’s love. This is what it means to be ‘so loved’ by Him. So face the future knowing always just how loved you are; and be confident that come what may, our Father has said,

“I’ve been carrying you on my back
from the day you were born,
And I’ll keep on carrying you when you’re old.
I’ll be there, bearing you when you’re old and gray.
I’ve done it and will keep on doing it,
carrying you on my back, saving you.” Isaiah 46:3-4 [MSG]

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