How to Love God (By Receiving His Love)

How many times have you heard that you need to love God? This popular phrase is often heard when referring to Christian living and the Christian life, and is used in an attempt to conjure up reciprocal love for God.

However, when a person is trapped in legalism, with the burden of religion weighing them down, this phrase “you need to love God” takes on a heavy meaning which causes people to be introspective and focused on their own ability to love, rather than focusing on the root of the issue, which is God’s love for them.

I’ve spoken with a great number of people (and been one in the past as well) who were so consumed with trying to love God, that they completely missed His love for them – and in reality, the only way that we can truly love God at all, is by receiving His love for us in the first place!

So today in this study, we will be exploring the topic of how to truly love God, not by trying harder, but by receiving His love for you.

The Backwards Mentality of Religion

I had a conversation with a gentlemen once who asked me what I did [for a job] – and I told him that I was a Gospel minister – to which he paused awkwardly, and then said “Oh, I’m not religious”. So I chuckled and said, “That’s okay neither am I!” – after that we each went our separate ways.

It wasn’t until three days later, that we met again and he said to me in a puzzled voice: “What did you mean, when you said that you weren’t religious?!”.

You see, religion is not at all the same thing, as having a relationship, a union with Christ. And sometimes I think that we use the words and say these phrases, but haven’t really stopped to consider what they mean, or what the implications of them are.

It may also surprise you to hear that a great number of Christians also do not understand these differences. And so we are going to explore this today, and look at how the mentality of religion, is actually quite backwards to the truth of the Gospel of Christ taught in the scripture. And right-away I need to mention that when I say “backwards mentality” – I am not using that term as slang for stupid or unintelligent; not at all…

What I am saying, is that there is a religious mentality among many Christians, that is actually 180 degrees opposite to what the scriptures actually teach, and what the Gospel of Christ actually says. And this is what we will be exploring (and exposing) in today’s study.

Jesus’ Payment For Your Emotional Peace

If you have been viewing the studies here for any length of time, you have probably heard me mention that Jesus has made complete redemption available, and that He has made complete provision for your spirit, your soul, your body and even your finances. And indeed we have studied about His provision for your spirit, His provision for your body, and His provision for your finances.

Yet it occurred to me that we had not really explored His provision for your soul (that is your mind and emotions), in quite some time. And this area of His provision is just as important, just as powerful, and just as freeing as the others; and so we will be looking at it today in this study.

God is Not Just Your Light, He is Your Salvation

We recently did a study on how God is Light, and the Father of it, and it is absolutely true. The plain and simple analogy here is that without Him you can’t see anything clearly (or at all!). It is certainly true that He is Light – but that is not all that He is!

You may think that this is an obvious statement, but let me tell you that back in the days when I was entrenched in legalism and the religious performance mindset, I never really saw God as anything other than light. Oh sure – I knew of the scriptures which stated that He was more, but for myself personally on a daily-basis, I never factored-in anything other than God merely being a source of spiritual light. And there are a great number of people today who are still in that exact same place.

The implications of this are widespread and quite damaging to our relationship and union with Christ. For example, seeing God as only a light to point you in the right-direction, which you then must strive for through your effort and work, can actually totally negate the finished work of Jesus Christ.

So what I want to share with you today in this study, is the fact that God is so much more than light. He’s not just a pointer to salvation; but rather He is salvation.

Jesus is Your Eternal Redemption

Redemption. This word has taken on a variety of meanings in our modern culture. However it has a very specific meaning in scripture: “To buy back, and return possession to a previous owner”.

We’ve studied before the famous line in Psalms 107:2, which says to let the redeemed of the LORD say so… and there have even been songs sung about this very thing, yet people often don’t stop to think about what making the statement that “I am redeemed!” actually means.

So in this study today, I would like to share with you, the amazing truth of your redemption in Christ, and what it actually means to be redeemed; and redeemed eternally by Jesus Christ Himself.

Be Health-Conscious Instead of Sickness-Conscious

When talking about sickness, many people take a hopeful cautious attitude. “It’s raining outside, and the weather is cold, I hope I don’t get sick.” – “Gee, that virus is going around, I hope I am not next to get it.”

These statements are the norm, and they may even seem logical. However, are these attitudes really the way that God wants us to live? Is this the kind of abundant life that Jesus suffered and died on the cross for us to have?

What I want to share with you today, are some thought-provoking questions like the ones I just mentioned, and some scriptures that will open your awareness and increase your perspective regarding healing and health. Because Jesus didn’t suffer and die on the cross so that you would continue to suffer and die – but in-fact He has redeemed you from the curse, and as His ambassador, you should be walking in His blessings (all of them) and bringing them to others also.

Keep Your Hope High in Christ

One of the biggest areas of doubt for many people is a lack of hope. And as we have studied in the past many times, I am not speaking of hope as the world understands it to be, but I am speaking of spiritual hope, Biblical hope.

You see, worldly hope is like a wish, a dream, something that you don’t really expect.
Whereas spiritual hope, is a confident expectation.

In the Bible, when you see the word “hope” – especially in connection with Christ, it is always the spiritual kind of hope, the confident expectation of good.

For many people, their confidence is constantly being attacked and challenged. Their hope is always being pressed by situations, circumstances, thoughts and feelings. The world even likes to say “don’t get your hopes up!” – and that same sentiment has infiltrated churches as well.

I have been in many churches, where I have shared with my Christian brothers and sisters that I was believing for a miracle, and they would respond with something along the lines of:
“Yeah! That sure would be great… but don’t get your hopes up.”
“Absolutely! That would be amazing! But I can’t count on it.”

What I want to share with you today, is why you should go ahead and get your hope up, and also keep it up in Christ Jesus. And how by having a proper perspective through the lens of the finished work of Christ for you, you can stand against these attacks against your hope, and show others to do the same.

The Lie of “Almost”

Of the many lies that the enemy has spread about God, few are as varied, as widespread and as damaging as what I have come to call, the lie of “Almost.” In-fact this particular lie is so prevalent, and takes so many forms, I can say that it comes up in some fashion in almost every conversation that I encounter about the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Let me give you some examples of this Almost lie, and what it looks like:
You almost have your miracle, just keep persevering.
You almost conquered your sin, just try harder.
God is almost pleased, just keep at it.

Now all three of these may sound right, they may even seem encouraging… I mean, what’s wrong with telling someone to keep on trying, right? Well to use a colloquialism: The devil is in the details – which in this case is literally true. The lie, is in the “almost” part of it, implying that the things which Christ paid for on the cross have still been left undelivered, or that additional steps are required to attain them. And this lie has kept many people in bondage, some even for their entire lives.

So today, what I want to share with you, is what the scriptures say regarding what you have in Christ Jesus – not sometime later, not after jumping through religious hoops, but right now, this very moment.

Give Thanks In All Things

At one time or another, most of us have probably heard at least one sermon preached on the famous verse of 1st Thessalonians 5:18. This well-known verse says that we are supposed to “give thanks in all things.” It’s a tough pill to swallow for many people – not because the instruction itself is difficult, but rather because our interpretation of it makes it harder than it actually is.

You see, what I was taught long ago, and what many people still believe today, is that this famous verse says that we must “give thanks for all things”, when in-fact it doesn’t say that at all. And what I want to share with you today, is what this verse actually is saying, and why this in itself is a testament to Jesus Christ and your relationship with Him.

Psalm 51, Jesus, and Your Relationship

If you’ve read any of our previous studies, you know that I talk a lot about your identity in Christ, your foundation in Him, your Relationship with God. I talk about those things so often because without these things, you really have nothing but dead religion. Without these things: without your identity, without your relationship, without your foundation on Jesus Christ, it’s all just empty ritual, empty tradition, and ultimately an empty existence.

I had one person ask me once: Why don’t you teach something more relevant? And I had to respond and say that there is nothing more relevant than the finished work of Jesus Christ, and who you are in Him. I have discussions with people all of the time, who claim to be Christian’s, who say that they are believers, but they have no real relationship with God; they have no foundation, or realization of their identity… and these same people are living defeated lives… they are down all of the time, and they spend more time talking about how the enemy is beating them down rather than the victory that Jesus has won.

And please understand, I am not pointing fingers at those people, I’m not judging or ridiculing them at all – that’s not what Jesus called me to do… my purpose in mentioning their situation, is to highlight an issue that needs to be addressed… the lack of this foundation, identity and relationship in and through Jesus, is hurting people and destroying lives.

So what I want to share with you today, is more on this foundation. So that you will be able to live in the confidence, joy and peace of Jesus Christ every single day.