“The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.'”
One of the great pitfalls for every believer is failing to realize how God actually feels about us. Because so much of our experience in this life is based upon performance, we project that onto our relationship with God. We think, if we are doing the right things He loves us, but if we do something wrong, He is angry, disappointed, and may even shun us. How precious to hear the voice of God say to Jeremiah, “I love you with an everlasting love and I have drawn you to myself.” The basis of this love is not in the behavior of Jeremiah, but in the character of God.
Years ago, I heard a pastor say, “The only thing God expects from you is failure.” His point was simply that God understands who we are. We are weak, and prone to stumble and fail, in our attempts to walk with Christ. This is not an excuse to sin, but a reality that we are going to get tripped up from time to time. The secret to continuing on in the Lord, is to realize that even at our worst, God loves us with an everlasting love.
Earlier this week, I was in the midst of a discussion with another believer about accountability. We spoke of the need to to be accountable to God first, and how the fear of the Lord is the greatest deterrent to personal sin. As the conversation continued, we began to reflect upon the mercy of God, and how even with our best attempts, we still fail to be adequately holy in all our behaviors. It is during these times, we need to be particularly mindful of the everlasting love of God. Instead of allowing a momentary weakness to lead us into a permanent state of backsliding, we must realize the love of God is greater than all our sin, and once again draw near to Him.
God chose a number of ways to illustrate who He is, and how He feels about us. Not the least of which, is referring to Himself as our Heavenly Father. We can understand the father-son relationship, although none of us had the perfect father, and none of us is the perfect father. We can still relate to the fact that a father does not cast away his son because he fails. Instead, a father will bring his son close, and seek to help him succeed and overcome his failure.
How sweet it is to realize that the love of God is everlasting.