The Love You Are Looking For
One of our greatest needs and greatest misunderstandings within ourselves is the need to be loved.
We have a desperate need to be loved. Desperately, but silently, inside of us we are screaming out “love me.” Some of us may not want to admit it but we all have a deep need to be loved.
The misunderstanding that we have is how that desperate need can be meet. Many of us don’t fully understand love—either human love or God’s love. Very few people understand the depth of God’s love. And even fewer live their life as if they’ve experienced God’s love.
No matter where you are in your spiritual journey, our prayer today is that what you read and experience would not just be inspirational—but that it would be transformational—that it will change your thoughts, attitudes, perspectives, and ultimately your life.
Jeremiah 31:3 “The Lord said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.””
The Bible boldly proclaims there is only one love in the universe that has what it takes to meet the need we have for love. We can try to meet our need for love with whatever we want, and most of us have tried many things, but at the end of the day there is only one love that meets the need we all have.
God has given us one of a kind love! An unlike any other kind of love! This isn’t just a sentiment about how much God loves us, although true. It is not only true that God’s love is so great that no other love or comprehension of love could compare, but it’s also real that God’s love is the only solution to the need for love that we are designed with.
How do we usually try to solve our need for love?
The love we receive through success and achievement. We have a desire for people to recognize our accomplishments, we want to hear someone say “Wow! Look how well she’s doing!” or “Isn’t he amazing?” We can easily fall into a cycle of performing for the little bit of love we feel when we’re recognized.
We get love and affirmation from people. Whether it’s from our kids as they do well in school, or when they excel in sports. We feel like if our kids are good enough, or if our spouse or girlfriend is popular enough, then maybe somehow people will think more highly of us; maybe they’ll love us more.
Some people will put themselves down so others will come up to them and say, “Hey, you’re not that bad.” We’re so desperate for someone else’s love that we’re willing to beat ourselves up for it.
Some of us think that a certain career or socioeconomic status will lead to more love. Or we’ll willing to concede the love of others thinking that loving ourselves will meet the need we have.
We seek to have things as a way to satisfy our need to be loved. Even though we would never acknowledge it this way, we think that if we have enough material possession, or “cool stuff,” then it will at least medicate our heart’s desire for love.
The problem with these ways of getting love is they’re insufficient and temporary. They’re limited in meeting our deep need for love and that leaves us with an insatiable thirst for more—better performance, more from people, more pity, higher position, more possessions. The problem is they cannot fully meet our need for love because they’re limited by design. These things were never made to fit the hole in our heart. We will be left longing.
God’s love is different. God’s love fits the hole and leaves us whole.
Ephesians 3:17-19 “May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love… may you be able to feel and understand… and experience this love…”
1 John 4:16 (NIV) “God is love.”
The Bible doesn’t say possessions or position are love. It doesn’t say people or pity is love. It says, “God is love.” Many of you have heard how marvelous God’s love is, but have you experienced God’s love?
3 Aspects Of God’s Love
1. God Leads Me
Romans 8:14 (NLT) “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”
God wants to lead you through life. He wants to direct you towards success in life along a path filled with His love. Yet somehow, even though we are His children and He is our Father we tend to go through life on our own. We tend to look away from his shephereding. We tend to forget that Psalm 23:1 says God is our shepherd and through Him we have all that we need (paraphrased).
God will always lead those who are willing to be led. He will always provide direction to those willing to listen. The question that faces us is: Are we willing to follow His leadership? Are we willing to live by His direction?
2. God Protects Me
He protects me just like a shepherd protects the sheep. The big idea here is that God is in control. If I’m a child of God, I have nothing to worry about. Some of you are facing challenges today saying, “I’m in deep trouble and there’s no way out of this. I’m too far gone and it’s far too late.”
Psalm 40:11-12 “My only hope is Your love… for my problems are too big for me to solve and are piled over my head.”
When we go on without God’s leadership we get ourselves into more and more problems. They pile up on us. And our problems really are too big for us, we need God’s help. If we’ll go to Him for leadership He will give us His protection. But when we go it alone, and when what we do is not aligned with God’s ways and God’s Word, we end up making a mess of things.
Whether we’re willing to acknowledge it or not,“My only hope is [God’s] love.” The pivotal point we face is whether we will be willing to accept God’s love and experience the kind of hope in life that only comes from Him.
3. God Knows Me And He Still Loves Me
John 10:14 (NIV) Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know Me…”
Wondering leads to wandering. When we wonder if we’re love, or where we’ll find the love that we need, we tend to wander from the love we’re designed to receive and experience. But with God we can be totally confident of His love for us, and for His desire for us to experience the life He has intended for us; a good life.
Psalm 145:17 “The Lord is loving toward all He has made.”
God is loving toward everyone. God knows me and still loves me. God knows you and still loves you!
1 Peter 5:7 “He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.”
If someone knew you, completely… everything about you… all your secrets… how would they respond? Would they still like you? Would they still love you? God knows everything about you and His love for you remains unconditional, unlimited, and unending.
Learning of this love, knowing this love, experiencing this type of love is amazing!
How Can You And I Respond To A Love Like This?
1. Receive God’s love for yourself
You only experience love when someone else is gracious and gives it to you. God is giving you the gift of His love. But, like any gift, you have to choose to receive it if you want to experience the blessings of it.
Romans 5:8 “God has shown us how much He loves us; it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us!”
Jesus tells many stories to help us visualize and understand truth and reality. One of the stories is about a son (Luke 15:11-32) who walks away from the live He was graciously given, only to realize the turmoil he brought upon himself. He was lost, gone but not forgotten. As he’s found the Father rejoices. He rejoices because something of great value, something that was important to Him, was found.
Some of you are like that lost son and today is your day to be found.
Today is your day to respond to God’s love.
Today is your day to receive God’s love.
John 1:12 (NLT) “But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.”
God is offering you an unconditional love and the inheritance of Jesus Christ. He’s offering you unlimited hope and confidence in this life, and a home secured with Him for the next life.
If you’ve never received God’s love, what are you waiting for?
2. Reflect God’s love to others
People are dying for love. They need His love just as much as you do. When you begin to understand God’s love for you, when you embrace the unfailing love God has for all people, you are able to bring others in to the same hope and confidence you experience by God’s love.
Experiencing God’s love and helping others to experience God’s love is so important that in Jesus’ final hours he chose to address this very issue.
John 13:34-35 “I am giving a new commandment to you now—love each other just as much as I love you. Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are My disciples.”
Be a reflection of God’s love. Let others see God’s love in you. Choose to reflect God’s love to others in what you say and in what you do.