It keeps following me.
Everywhere I go, it seems to be there.
Out of nowhere, it will start. Over and over again.
It’s a song. By a group called “Hawk Nelson” called “Live Like You’re Loved”. And for months, it has played at random moments from various sources, popping into my day quite unexpectedly.
I have learned that there are no coincidences in the Kingdom of God. So He has obviously put this song on my repeat on my personal playlist for a reason. As a result, I have been chewing on this question:
What does it look like to “live like you’re loved”?
I am loved. But let’s be clear what “love” means in this context. The Greeks had four words for love – the love of family members for each other, the love of friends, sexual or erotic love and the love of God. That fourth one is the focus for all that follows here. The others are great – but that fourth one, the one the Greeks called “agape” is the game-changer in my life and in yours. Agape love is who God is – and how He loves. Me. You. It is how He defines love – and Himself – in His Word. We are His creation, bearing His image. We are designed to be in relationship with Him. We have the option of surrendering our lives to His keeping or going our own way. We have the choice to be saved from our sin and its eternal consequences by trusting that Jesus died in our place on the cross or to say, “No thanks, God, I’ll save myself from myself.” From this point on, I am speaking only to those who have chosen to be followers of Christ, trusting Him for salvation because they believe He died for them. These are the only ones among us who can truly “live loved” because they have accepted the gift of that love from arms outstretched and nailed to a cross.
So, with all that in mind, if I am going to “live like I am loved” by God, what will that look like? Here’s what I have come up with so far:
I am going to walk in confidence, not fear. Not arrogance. Not pride of self. But confidence in who I am, as defined by God. I am a beloved daughter of the King of Kings. I am not perfect – but I am perfectly loved because that love is not based on my performance, for good of for bad. God will not love me more today than He did yesterday and He will not love me less if when I do something that hurts His heart. I will not fear being fully known by Him and I will not (attempt to) hide from Him. I will not fear offending my Beloved because I will not fear retribution, retaliation, manipulation or vindictiveness. I will choose to do my best to not offend Him simply because I am His and He is mine.
I am going to believe what the Beloved says about me – for good or bad. I will believe and act on the Truth that there is now no condemnation for me because I am in Christ Jesus. I will listen when guilt comes from God – and I will know it is His voice because it will be about my choices, not about me. God’s voice says, “I love you. And because I love you, I want what is best for you. That choice you made (and He will be very specific) was wrong and you need to make it right.” The voice of the enemy, the “accuser of the brethren” says, “You are defined by that sin. You are that sin. You are shameful and need to be ashamed. You need to hide that past act from others and pull yourself together so you can be loved.” There is a powerful difference between guilt from God and guilt from Satan. The first needs to be heeded, dealt with and then it will be done – gone as far as the east is from the west. The second is a noose, a dead-weight, an anchor for my soul, never going away because it is the voice of a liar and the father of lies.
I am going to strive to please the one who loves me, not out of obligation or some hope of attaining more love, but simply because when one is loved well, one loves well in return. I am going to seek the things that make my Beloved happy and choose to do those things, simply because I want to honor His love for me and demonstrate mine in return. I am going to learn His likes and dislikes by getting to know Him better. And when I am not sure of what action I should or should not take, I am going to ask Him what He thinks. I am going to value His opinion over that of any other simply because I am so lavishly loved by Him.
I am going to trust that His motivation behind whatever happens is good and not bad, for me and not against me. Whatever the circumstance is, I am going to trust that He is still in control, still the King of the World, still on His throne. And even if the event is something the enemy sends and God allows, I am still going to believe His promise to work it together for good in my life. I am going to choose to trust His heart over what my eyes can see every time. I will not listen to the voice of His enemies or even my own doubts when He is silent. Instead, I will keep my face turned His way, believing the best about Him, seeking Him and knowing that He will show me sooner or later whatever it is He wants for me out of even these difficult circumstances.
I am going to savor every message, every gift, every reminder that my Beloved is thinking about me. I will take time to read His love letter to me, learning from it and allowing it to correct my thinking, my worldview and my ways. I am going to see His hand in the beauty around me and not miss the love notes and little gifts that are strewn across every day. The three cranes I saw flying together on Sunday. The flowers blooming in my garden. The hug from a small child. And laughter with a friend. Just a few of His good gifts. I am going to give Him the credit for every “good and perfect gift that comes from the Father of Light.”
I am going to consult my Beloved in everything, leaning into Him at all times, for all things. The tiny things as well as the huge. The choices that seem life-changing and the ones that seem meaningless. I am going to allow Him to make the plan for my day and I will sign off on it before I even know what’s in it. I am going to view my life with Him as an adventure, no matter where it takes me or what inconveniences happen along the way. I am going to ask for His help with everything from opening a jar to getting through traffic to giving me the words to say when I write this blog, pick up that phone or teach that lesson.
I am going to shine. His love is going to rub off on me and leak onto you. It is going to pour through the conduit of my life and splash out into the lives of others. It is going to show up in how I treat the waiter, how I wait in a long line at the store, how I drive in traffic, what I post on social media, how I speak about elected officials, what I do about social issues and what I say when we disagree. It is going to cause me to consider my bank account and all my possessions with eyes seeking to share rather than hoard. It is going to remind me that I cannot do any of this in and of myself but that I have the same power that raised Jesus from the dead at work in me. And it is going to cause me to actually believe I have everything I need for life and godliness. If I will live like I am loved, I am going to shine. With words and without them. I am going to be loving others until they ask me why. And I will then be ready to give them the answer for the hope that is in me when they ask.
As the song says,
“So go ahead and live like you’re loved!
It’s okay to act like you’ve been set free
His love has made you more than enough
So go ahead and be who He made you to be
Live like you’re loved!”
And just in case you want to hear the whole thing, here is the link to their official YouTube version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_r47Xhkf20