5 Reasons Why I Love You
I love you.
I can honestly say this despite never meeting most of you. I have a real love for you. It is my greatest goal that you would be blessed by God…simply because I care about you. This includes you whether you are a Christain or not. My life’s work revolves around blessing you. Love is my motivation. It is why I preach, write, and do the things I do. I don’t want anything from you. Just that you know that you are loved by me and, more importantly, by Jesus.
Does this surprise you?
Do you feel unloved?
Do you feel like me, a Christian pastor, could never love you? Do you hold to a stereotype of Christians that paints me as hate-filled or angry?
It is not true. In fact, it was becoming a Christian that saved me from burning anger, tribalism, and selfishness. There are millions of Christians who share my experience. We care for you deeply even though you are different and disagree with our faith.
You are loved agnostic, atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, Jew, or follower of another faith.
You are loved, Christian.
You are loved regardless of race or ethnicity.
You are loved no matter where you are in life or what you call yourself.
You are loved Republican or Democrat, old or young, poor or rich.
This is the true meaning of calling myself a follower of Jesus. He gave everything He had out of love for the world..including me. He then called me to do the same for you.
Why would I care about you, a stranger?
These are the 5 Reasons why I love you:
1) Because God Loves You
You might be totally different than me. You might have tastes, likes, preferences, and a life that is the opposite of mine. You might hate the things that I love. You might hate me. You may feel impossible to love.
Yet, the undeniable truth is Jesus loves you. He has such a selfless heart for you that He died for you willingly. The Bible – the book you may love or hate – is a story of God willingly choosing to die for you out of love.
John 3:16 is such a famous verse because it expresses this truth simply:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Do you see it? Do you see what God is saying to you?
What made God give His Son, Jesus over to evil men to be tortured and die? Love for you. He loves you so much He gave up what is most precious to Him to pay for your freedom.
He is also an all-knowing, all present deity. This means He knows everything about you and He still loves you. God is Love
Who can tell perfect God that He is wrong?
Jesus then makes clear that His disciples should have that same feeling towards you as He does. He makes the point to command Christians to love God and other Christians. Most religions stop here but this is not the heart of Jesus of Nazareth. He goes further and including loving your neighbor with the greatest commandment:
Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
Do you see the weight Jesus places on His people loving you – no matter where you are in life?
He says fulfilling the entirety of the Bible hinges on whether a person loves God and their neighbor according to Jesus. A Christian cannot follow God’s greatest commandment if he/she does not love you.
This is how important God thinks you are.
Jesus makes it clear that “neighbor” in the passage means more than the folks living in your town or city. It includes everyone. Jesus also says Christians are to love their enemies, just in case someone was looking for a loophole. Christians are supposed to be recognized as His disciples by how much we love the church.
Are there any people covered by the world, the church, your neighbor (everyone), and your enemy? Jesus’ clear commands are to love everyone…including you.
God loves you and He is never wrong. I follow Jesus and God lives in me…so I love you. I want the best for you. I pray for you that God blesses you independently of me.
Do you believe you are loved? It is true.
I am following the perfect example, Jesus. He even loved the men who nailed Him to a Cross. His love is like an everflowing river. All you need to do is step into it and you will be swept away by its power.
2) Because You are my Family…or could be
You are my brother or sister if you are a believer in Christ. God makes clear that is more than just a throwaway term some denominations call each other as a title. There is an actual transaction that takes place at the moment of salvation. It is a fundamental change in your identity. You are first transformed from death to life in Christ. You are also adopted as a son or daughter into God’s family. You are made a child of the Most High God by decree of the King of Kings.
Do you know you are a kid brother or sister to Jesus Christ?
In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.
Jesus makes this clear when He is told in the Gospels His earthly mother, Mary, and brothers wanted to speak with Him. His response shows how He feels about you:
whoever does the will of God… is my brother and sister and mother.
Jesus chose you to be my sibling before the world was made fellow Christian. He picked you out of all the people in the world. He changed you through the most important miracle of all time. You are the apple of His eye. Who am I to tell God that He is wrong?
Who doesn’t naturally love their family? I love you, brother or sister.
If you haven’t yet joined the family, you can change this in a moment. You can join as a Child of God and sibling to Christ at any moment because your brother, Jesus, loved you so much that He sacrificed Himself for you.
Jesus’ love for you has no beginning and no end. He loved you before you were born and wants you as His sibling.
How could I not love my future brother or sister?
3) Because You are Chosen for Great Things
The Bible is clear it is by grace alone you were saved. This means it is God’s free gift and you do nothing to earn it. This does not mean that you have nothing to offer the Body of Christ. You specifically have an amazing role to play in God’s perfect plan. God picked you and then gives you a part in His work.
Do you believe this? I do and I have been blessed to see Jesus work through the widest variety of unlikely people:
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
The word that is translated as “handiwork” in this verse shares the same root in Greek as the word “poem”. It is indicative of a work of art or a work of beautiful creativity. I like to think of it as God composing and performing the most wonderful symphony of all time.
Do you understand what God is saying to you in this verse?
God is like the conductor of the most beautiful symphony in history. Every note is perfect in the composition. He does not play it by Himself, though. He picked you to pick up and instrument and join in. You are chosen to contribute your part to the glorious melody. God prepared the music, gave you the instrument, set up the theater and gave you the ability to play through the Holy Spirit.
You just have to be willing to play.
Your siblings in Christ are then blessed to be able to sit back and watch you work. It is a wonderful privilege to see God move in even the least of the brethren.
Do you know you were chosen for good works God picked out just for you? Do you know Jesus thinks you are able to do great things for His Kingdom?
All it takes is faith in the Conductor, trust in His directions, and the willingness to follow Jesus.
If you aren’t in the orchestra yet, think of how much greater it will sound with another perfectly selected and chosen instrument added – that would be you. There is a wonderful part waiting for you.
I love watching God express His glory through His church today. How much better would it look with you as part of it?
I look forward to hearing you play your piece.
4) Because I Know How It Feels
Are you in pain?
Do you feel unloved?
Are you lost?
Suffering from addiction?
Are you being worn down by work, politics, or the news cycle?
Do you deny God?
Are you filled with anger?
Are you struggling with anxiety and depression?
So was I. I have been there at different points in my life before Jesus. I remember how much it hurts. I am sorry you are feeling this way. I know there does not seem to be a better way but there is.
His name is Jesus and He loves you more than I ever could. He promises you peace, eternal security, rest from worries, and real goodness. He can take you from wherever you are to true joy.
How do I know?
I fought my demons for many years. I tried everything to be free of the pain and the feelings of worthlessness. I raged against the causes of the moment. I lost myself for a short time in addiction and entertainment. I would forget for a time but wake up the next day in fear and loathing. I even argued against Jesus, the Gospel, and the church as I was sure I had no need for the crutch of “crooked religion”.
I battled myself, my past, and my sin until it was clear I was defeated. I tried to build my life on my own strength, got the material things I wanted, and then realized they were worthless. I was fighting a spiritual battle with physical weapons. This is when I surrendered and in the span of 5 minutes, my life changed. Jesus healed me of the biggest things and has been healing me of the rest in the years since. He gently tended my wounds I did not even know I had. He showed me love that I could never imagine. He saved me and asked for nothing for doing so.
All because He loves me.
This is the love that fuels my care for you, particularly if you are struggling like I did. I see myself in the rebellious, addicted, and the lost. I hear myself in the argumentative and the angry. I remember myself as I listen to all of the justifications for sin. I know how it feels. I also know the joy of the glorious life with Jesus.
This is the love I want you to experience. I love you because I was once lost and now I am found. I want you to have a part of it as well!
5) Because You are Made in God’s Image
You are made in the image of God. You are the high point of the creative work of the One who made everything. This means you are a greater creation than the earth, moon, and the stars. You are an amazing work of a master artist. You are made to resemble God.
This does not mean Gods has flesh and blood. Scripture says that “God is spirit” and therefore exists without a body. Yet, you are made so much more special than all of the animal kingdom. You are blessed alone of all of God’s creation to be able to freely think like God. You alone are gifted with a spirit that is meant to worship God while also given free will. This freedom allows you alone to choose to worship in love. Since you were created as a rational, volitional actor, you can reason and choose. This is a reflection of God’s intellect and freedom. Even doubt and mental struggles reflect the wonderful pattern of free thought God gifted to you.
Do hyenas ever struggle with the morality of killing?
Do lions ever stare at the sky pondering the existence of God?
Do chimpanzees search for meaning in life more than just their everyday existence?
Of course not, this is the natural and beautiful result of God’s imprint on you.
Angels are immensely powerful angelic beings. They carry out the will of God from His throne in Heaven. Yet, even they don’t have the same freedom to think, decide, fail, and be redeemed to worship of humanity. This liberty to think and choose to love and worship reflects God’s loving heart.
You are made in His image…and I love you for it.
Some of you may think my caring for you is strange. Others may think it is just something Christians say or it is not possible. I thought all those things before I was saved. I just knew the Christian co-worker who was kind to me for no reason years ago was a weirdo or just had to pretend to put on a show.
That’s ok. I understand and I love you anyway.
Do you want to experience real love every day? Do you long for certainty, meaning and a joyful life? I want that for you too…and it is possible. You only need to step into the always flowing river of Jesus’ love and you will be transformed. That is God’s promise. It is what He did for me and can for you too.