In Jesus you are fully loved, it’s easy to say but it’s hard to believe, isn’t it? Even though you didn’t earn it or deserve it, Jesus loves you because of who He is, not based on what you do. You see, you can only be loved to the level at which you are known.
How can someone really love you if they don’t know you? Let’s talk about it…
Today we want to talk about moving from simply identifying with Jesus to connecting to Jesus. You know what I mean right?
There is a big difference in simply calling yourself a Christian and actively choosing to follow Jesus and experiencing the fullness of life in Him.
In the same way a tree rests on, receives from, and trusts in the soil it’s planted in, WE are invited to rest on, receive from, and trust in Jesus.
We are invited to be rooted in Jesus so we can flourish in life! But what does that mean?
Every generation wants a big life, right? Well, God wants to give each of us a big life. But we need a firm foundation and strong root structures to sustain it. Like a tree that grows big, tall, strong, and produces a lot of fruit, we must be planted in Jesus and grow deep roots in Him, so we can live a fruitful, purposeful life.
Simply put, we need to build our life on Jesus; His voice in our life, and the truth of what He says about us. When we say “rest on, receive from, and trust in” you may be asking yourself? Rest on what? Receive what? Trust in what? Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about today, and….
Can I just encourage you? This conversation may challenge some of the ways you have thought about your relationship with Jesus. Romans 12:2 tells us to “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” This means that we are bringing our thoughts in alignment with what Jesus says. Can you choose to do that right now? Be willing to allow your thoughts to align with Jesus’ truth? When we open our hearts, choose to receive, and then act on the revelation we receive, we will experience the best life Jesus came to give us, and we want that for you!
The last soil we draw from is love. When you receive His forgiveness, believe you are in right standing with God, believe you are favored, then you experience being fully loved by God.
In Jesus you are fully loved – say, “I am loved.”
I AM LOVED. Yeah, you are.
It’s easy to say but it’s hard to believe isn’t it? We hear it all the time (Jesus loves you!), but we’re not sure it’s really true. We think, how can I be loved after where I have been, what I have done, what I have said, how I have lived. And yet Jeremiah 31:3 says, “God loves us with an everlasting love!” There is never a moment in time when you are not loved.
Even though you didn’t earn it or deserve it, Jesus loves you because of who He is, not based on what you do. And what is so profound is the one who knows you best loves you most. You are fully known and fully loved. He knows everything about you and still He loves you completely. The one who knows your failures, flaws, brokenness, issues, secrets, and sins is the one who shouts the loudest, “I love you.”
You see, you can only be loved to the level at which you are known. How can someone really love you if they don’t know you? And since we keep most of the people in our lives at a distance we never really feel fully loved. We have stories, secrets, chapters of our lives that we hide because we believe that if they knew they wouldn’t love us, they would leave us, or be ashamed of us. So, we live out most of our relationships partially known and, therefore, partially loved. And since that is what we have experienced from people that is what we expect from God. If He only knew… Okay, I hate to break it to you, but He does know!!! He knows the places of your life that smell like the pigpen….and yet He brings you in close and embraces you.
Love is the most powerful force in the universe. Ephesians 3:17-18 explains why love is the deepest soil: And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Did you catch it? The love of God for you is deep…and look at what shape it makes when you say it out loud: How wide–How long–How High–How deep is the love of Christ! Look no further than the cross to see how much the Father sacrificially loves you.
And not only does God love you; He likes you! Sometimes the only thing harder than believing you are loved is believing you are liked. God doesn’t just love you. He actually likes you.
There was a guy in the Bible named Zacchaeus. He wasn’t quite liked by his fellow citizens because he was collecting taxes for the bad guys – Rome. Jesus could have loved Him from afar, but He decided to spend even more time with him face to face to build a friendship with him. Zacchaeus, “I am coming to your house today!”
Listen, you can save someone you don’t love but you can’t be friends with someone you don’t like. And like we’ve already talked about…Jesus calls you “friend”.
There is an amazing story in Luke 15 you may have heard it called the “prodigal son” but in reality, the word “prodigal” means lavish, or exorbitant. Which is how our Father in heaven loves us…lavishly…way over the top. It is the story of the lavishly loving Father.
In this story, the son demands his inheritance early, leaves the family, and ultimately ends up in the pig pen. He finally decides to make his way home thinking that just maybe his dad would let him work for him – he was convinced he could never really be part of the family because of what he had done. He makes his way home, and before he can even get to the door, his father sees him and runs to meet him and greets him with a big hug. The son says, “I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” The father’s response is to give him a robe, a ring, and sandals. He was forgiven, his relationship with his father was made right, he had favor, and he was loved. As Christians or followers of Jesus a lot of us have received the robe, the ring, and the sandals, but have yet to receive the love.
We have received His forgiveness, we may know we are righteous, and we may even think we are favored – but we don’t really believe that we could be loved. The most important thing the father did for his son in this story is to hug him – that represents His love for him, and it represents the Father’s love for us. Just like there is nothing we can do to earn the Father’s love, there is also nothing we can do to lose it.
In the same story, we learn about another son. You see the first son was rebellious, but this son was religious. And not only did the father go out and get the rebellious son who had been in the pig pen, he went and got his prideful, religious older son as well. The father went out and pleaded with him to come celebrate the return of his brother…but the older son was mad, “all these years I have slaved for you” and you didn’t even give me a goat!
And ultimately all this misplaced frustration stemmed from a refusal to be rooted in the love of his father. And then maybe one of the most heartbreaking verses in all the Scriptures. Verse 31 “My son, the father said, you are always with me and everything I have is yours.”
You see the religious son focused more on what he had done for his father instead of what his father had done for him. He spent his life at home, but his heart was never at rest. He spent his life striving and trying to earn what was already his. Living like a spiritual slave. It’s a reminder that you can be surrounded by love and completely miss it. Even though you are home, you can still be lost. One of our great concerns for people who spend years in church but never move forward in their relationship with Jesus is that they become like the older brother. Full of pride. Focused on what they have done for God instead of celebrating what God has done for them.
And this attitude starts to develop: all these years I came to church, served, gave money, did the right thing, tried to obey, lived better than them, I did all of this for you and what have you done for me? You didn’t give me the job I wanted, stuff I wanted, relationships I wanted, things I wanted. Offenses creep in and start settling as bitterness in our hearts. We constantly compare ourselves to those around us…
We live as spiritual slaves working for God instead of as beloved sons and daughters enjoying the presence of God in our daily lives. If you constantly hear about the love of God, but never move forward to live in the love of God it’s like a vaccine – eventually you become immune to it. Your heart becomes hard to the very thing that will set you free.
Can I ask you – is that you? Are you more focused on what you have done for God or what He has done for you? Are you here today because of what Jesus has done for you or because you think you are doing something for Him? Do you judge other people who have been in the pig pen or do you joyfully welcome them home? Do you know about love or are you living in His love? Your heart was created to live in love. The world creates fearful spiritual orphans, religion creates prideful spiritual slaves, but Jesus came to make us free beloved sons and daughters.
The human heart was made to live and thrive in love! Matthew 3 tells us that in Jesus, the Father is well pleased in you – He smiles upon you, sings over you, celebrates with you. He not only loves you; He likes you. We now live under an open heaven of love.
Can you imagine if the son would have been forgiven by the father, declared righteous (my son is home!), and been given back favor (robe to wear, sandals to work the farm, ring establishing his authority) BUT the father had not given him a hug!!! What if the son wouldn’t have received the father’s embrace? The father’s love?
You see, you can understand the first 3 soils…but if you don’t receive the Father’s love you miss the chance to be deeply rooted in Him. Hear me: Jesus loves you.
Jesus loves me is the most profound truth in the universe. And His love is the deepest soil our lives can be rooted in.
So, let’s recap all 4 of these soils of connection. First, you are forgiven. In Jesus you are completely forgiven and can live fully free.
Second, in Christ you are righteous. You have right standing with God.
Next, the favor of God is dripping over every area of your life. God is always supernaturally working on your behalf.
Finally, you are fully known and fully loved with no fear of rejection. The One who knows you the best loves you the most!