Every life is a story. Every person is a book worth reading. Every human is a complex collage of influences, decisions, and experiences.
So, if you are letting your dark and complex past define you, if you are looking at your flaws and thinking they are insurmountable, or telling yourself that you just aren’t capable of getting past something standing in your way, then it is time to realize that God loves you right where you are, just how you are.
Now, if you are thinking, “Wait a minute Steve. God is perfect. God is aware of my imperfection. Surely God doesn’t love my garbage, my baggage, or my flaws?” or “Wait a minute Steve, doesn’t God judge people according to their works? My works are pretty worthless, surely I have to get rid of something or change something or make better decisions before God can love me?”
If you are thinking that your darkness, your complexity, and your flaws are causing God to hold off and wait for you to be more like Him before He will love you, I’ve got some great news for you — God loves you right where you are, just how you are.
Let that sink in for a minute. Without changing anything. Without improving anything. Without earning anything. Literally just as you are — God loves you.
In fact, consider this. You can’t make God not love you. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it. You can forget it, reject it, deny it, refuse it, and still the fact is that God loves you.
Whether you want it or not. Whether you believe it or not. Whether you accept it or not. God loves you.
Deeply. Passionately. Persistently. Completely. Infinitely and forever. God loves you.
This is literally the heart of the gospel — the message that God has embedded into every detail of creation, written onto every page of the Bible, and come in person to share, “I love you”.
Jesus died on the cross to demonstrate it, and rose from the grave to prove it. There is nothing more essential to life than the love that God has for you.
And the difference between victory and defeat, success and failure, and restoration and destruction is not whether or not you are flawed, broken, confused, dysfunctional, or complex in any other way, it is simply whether or not you are willing to receive what God is offering you.
The enemy is telling you to reject it, ignore it, refuse it, and destroy it. The enemy wants you to believe you have to earn it, deserve it, and create it for yourself. The enemy is trying to inspire disbelief so that you will let the power, the abundance, the goodness, and the blessings of God’s love pass you by.
If you are telling yourself, “God doesn’t have any reason to be good to me” or “God may take care of other people, but I don’t feel like He has ever really taken care of me” than it is time to hear the truth about God.
God doesn’t look for a reason, doesn’t ask for a reason, and doesn’t require a reason to love you, care for you, provide for you, and give you life. God created you to love you. God’s love is infinite and eternal, meaning that there are no limits to its reach or its extent, it is available everywhere and for all time. So, if you think that God hasn’t already taken care of you, or that He abandoned you when you needed Him most, start with knowing that God loved you even in the darkness, even in the mess, even in the abuse, even in the addiction, even in the failure, even in the defeat. God loved you when things didn’t go right, and when you experienced everything that you have experienced. God was with you every step of the way.
“Well, if God was with me why didn’t He stop it from happening?”
God has tried to explain the answer to this challenge so many times, but I think the best explanation ever given was Jesus Christ.
The whole Bible tells the story of Jesus coming and loving and healing and restoring and teaching and connecting and leading and so much more. And what happened? The enemy came for Him with everything that they had. The enemy got people to deny Him, hate Him, betray Him, beat Him, strip Him, flog Him, taunt Him, abuse Him, crucify Him, and kill Him. The enemy wanted to stamp out the love of God once and for all, prove that it had no power and could do nothing. The enemy wanted to show all people for all time that death brings an end to life, that defeat is certain, and that resistance is futile. But the enemy couldn’t overcome the fact that God’s love was more powerful, more available, and more irresistible than they could ever be. On the third day, something extraordinary happened, the enemy’s greatest victory became their greatest defeat, because Jesus conquered death and the grave once and for all and rose more powerful than He had ever been before. While He had lived His influence had been limited to just a few cities in Palestine, but when He rose His influence grew until it raced out across the globe to all people for all time. Jesus’ victory wasn’t just for Himself, He took all of the hatred, all of the abuse, all of the violence, all of the evil that the enemy had concentrated on Him and He conquered it all for everyone for all time who would follow Him.
So, why didn’t God stop it from happening? Because God’s purpose is victory.
Yes, you are flawed. Yes, you are complex. Yes, you have experienced the enemy and the defeat from which they demand your surrender. But, like Jesus, you have the opportunity to say, “not today, not ever”. You have the opportunity to uncover your victory from within your defeat. You have the opportunity to enjoy the twist that the enemy didn’t see coming and rejoice as God’s love conquers everything that the enemy worked so hard to put in place.
God loves you right where you, just how you are — flawed, imperfect, and complex.
And it is that love, which gives you the power, the life, the healing, the restoration, and the strength to say,
“God loves me. God is for me. No weapon formed against me will prosper. No obstacle standing in my way will stop me. No defeat I have experienced will hold me down or keep me from stepping into the life that God has in store for me. I am a child of God, born on purpose for a purpose. I am a person of destiny, the apple of God’s eye, and the messenger of God’s salvation. I am loved and I will love and there isn’t anything that the enemy can do about it.”
For all the hatred, all the violence, all the fear, all the anger, all the death and destruction that the enemy has thrown at you will not survive the flood of God’s abundant grace that is rising to save you.
You cannot be defeated. You were created for eternal life. You were created to be loved and to love and to receive all of the promises that God has spoken over your life.
Defeat is temporary. Victory is eternal.