I really don’t know how to start this except for with the idea that being a Jesus follower is hard sometimes. My heart is prone to wonder away from Him and I keep seeking to do what I want. The tension is trying to live in obedience to Jesus and living in a sin desiring body, the flesh. So if you have been a Christian for more than 2 minutes, I am sure you have felt this tension at some point in your walk with Him. Over the last several weeks, I have been more keenly aware of this issue that I don’t feel loved by God when I mess up or sin. I still struggle with the truth that His love is unconditional. I do not know where this stems from, but my brain someone always ties love with my performance. If I am good, then I am loved. If I have been bad, then I am not loved. God has really been challenging this thought process. It is one thing to know with your head, and yet it is quite another to believe it in your heart.
So this morning, as I was doing my devotion. I was reading 2 Samuel 22. David has been delivered by God from several enemies. He had been chased from his throne by his son, Absalom. He had a rebellion of people from the household of Saul rise up against him plus a last skirmish with the Philistine army and the giant’s sons. All of this was, of course, after his affair with Bathsheba and murder of her husband. Life had been very difficult for David and his family. He could have easily hung his head knowing full well that this season of life and difficulty were directly linked to his great sin. I believe that it would have been easy for David to feel he was completely out of favor with God, just as he had seen Saul go through the same thing years earlier. Yet, as you read through the chapter; guilt, shame, and distance from God are not the tone of the chapter. David is letting praise for God fly from his lips. But what really got my attention was verses 21-25. They almost seem scandalous knowing what we know about David. Check them out.
“The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.
“For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
And have not acted wickedly against my God. “For all His ordinances were before me,
And as for His statutes, I did not depart from them.
“I was also blameless toward Him,
And I kept myself from my iniquity. “Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
According to my cleanness before His eyes.”
Wow! How could David say those kind of things knowing what he had done? How could he say he was clean and righteous before God? Was David being arrogant or was he somehow projecting on God? When we sin, we allow our feelings of guilt and shame cloud our view of God. All we can see is our sin. If we are not careful, our feelings will dictate our thoughts instead of the truth of God’s Word to us and about us. I do it every time. I see God’s love based on my performance. David knew better. You can tell just by reading this chapter that God had truly forgiven Him. David was confident that he was clean and righteous before God. Why? Because it had nothing to do with David and his sinful ways.
Here is the good news. God’s love is not predicated on our behavior. If it was, then it would easy to say that God loves me based on something about me like my personality, talents, abilities, or charm. If that was the case, then God’s love would be conditional. “God loves because of _______________.” That is not how God loves you and I. God knew us and loved us before we were even born. This ensures that He loves us no matter what we are like. How could David be sure that God had forgiven him? Wouldn’t he question that based on the circumstances of his life? He may have, but it wasn’t recorded for us that way. When David repented of his sin, he was told by the prophet Nathan that God had indeed forgiven him. Now this is where I get it twisted every time. I know what the Bible says about Him forgiving me, but I don’t feel like I’ve been forgiven based solely on how I feel and the circumstances that come from the consequences. What did David do? He based what he knew about God’s love solely on the truth and told his feelings to sit down and shut up! God’s word is full of truths about God’s faithful love to people who don’t deserve it, that includes us. We must quit relying on our feelings and start meditating on what God has already said about us. If you will do that, then you can boldly move forward knowing that God loves you unconditionally. He is for you and doesn’t want you to perish, no matter what your circumstances and feelings tell you.
Remember that God is love. He wants to walk with you and for you to pursue Him. You don’t have to continue to live in sin, guilt, and shame. He will forgive you if you will repent. Turn to Him and know that you are loved. You won’t be perfect but can be perfectly forgiven and loved. Our Heavenly Father is waiting with arms opened wide for any prodigal who wants to return or any elder brother willing to humble themselves before God. Let me encourage you to do that today. No matter what you’ve done wrong or done right. God loves you unconditionally.
Grace and Peace to you as you are known and loved by our good God. Let me know if you need some specific verses to help you know that you can be forgiven and know that you are deeply loved by God!!