There is so much to be found in God’s love if we would only slow down and allow Him access to our hearts.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”
John 15:9 ESV
“Home.” At its most basic level, your home is the place where you live: your house, your apartment, or even your city or town. But the word carries a deeper meaning as well. The dictionary defines home as the place where our “domestic affections are centered.” Our home is what forms us. What fills us. What captures our heart.
In John 15:9, Jesus offers a remarkable invitation. He says we can live in his love. Some translations use the word abide. Others say remain. A few say continue or dwell. I like how The Message puts Jesus’ words: “Make yourselves at home in my love.”
God’s love, in other words, can be what forms us and fills us. It can be what captures our hearts. Just like the Father delights in the Son, Jesus delights in our company. It doesn’t matter who we are or what we’ve done; nothing can separate us from God’s love! (Romans 8:38-39)
And yet…we hang back. We have the opportunity to relish our status as Christ’s beloved, but we don’t. Why not?
Three Barriers to Receiving God’s Love
There may be any number of reasons why we don’t abide in Christ’s love—why we fail to settle down, relax, and make ourselves at home there—but here are three of the biggest barriers to our thriving in connection with Christ.
For one thing, we know ourselves. We know where we’ve blown it. We know how unworthy we are. And so, unwilling to step out from under our shame, we (mistakenly) conclude that Christ’s invitation is not meant for us.
Or maybe our stumbling block is that we think we have to earn God’s approval. Sure, it is his grace that saves us, but what about after that? We think it’s up to us to please God by what we think, say, and do—and when we slip up or fall short, we figure we’ll fall out of God’s favor and forfeit his love.
Then, too, we may find it easier to give love than to receive it. Giving makes us feel valuable and important; receiving puts us in a more vulnerable position. Receiving requires a type of surrender—which can be kind of awkward. We don’t like feeling needy; we’d rather be self-sufficient. We want to be in control.
All of these things—the shadow of shame, the sense that we need to earn God’s approval, and the desire for sufficiency instead of surrender—are lies that can keep us from experiencing the fullness of joy God wants us to have. But when we stop and consider the glorious weight of Christ’s words—“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you”—everything changes. We see the truth.
The truth is this: Jesus knows you. Jesus loves you. And the moment you turn in his direction, he flings wide the door, opens his arms, and says, “Welcome home.”
In His Word
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 ESV)
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:10-11 ESV)
In Your Life
Where have you struggled to receive Christ’s love? How might embracing his affection—believing that you truly are his beloved—impact how you think about yourself? About others? Take some time this week to reflect on God’s lavish love for you, and ask him to open your heart to receive all that he wants to give.
Read more about abiding and how to make your home in God’s love in Praying the Scriptures for Your Life: 31 Days of Abiding in the Presence, Provision, and Power of God. You’ll learn to trust God and pray effectively about everything from your relationships, to hearing God’s voice, to overcoming worry and fear.
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