You. Are. Loved.

A simple message today: You. Are. Loved.

You probably read that and mentally nodded your head in agreement.
An intellectual understanding that God loves you.

But has that message seeped all the way from your head to your heart?
Do you really KNOW that you are loved?
Accepted unconditionally by the God of heaven?
As you are.
This minute.

You are not too much for God to handle.
Whatever message you hear in your head about yourself is not how God sees you.
You are not too loud for Him.
Too fat for Him.
Too bossy for Him.
Too OCD for Him.
Too disorganized for Him.
Too passive for Him.
Too thin for Him.
Too quiet for Him.

You have a word or words in your mind that fill this blank: “I am too ______…”
And if you are honest, that sentence would end with “…to be loved by God or anyone else.”

“I am too timid to be loved by God or anyone else.”
“I am too much of a flake to be loved by God or anyone else.”
“I am too much of a potty-mouth to be loved by God or anyone else.”

And the list goes on.
We all have them.
Sinful choices.
Sinful patterns.
Things that fill us with shame.
Things we try our best to hide from others.
Past sins.
Present struggles.

Words that cut.
Ones that we often don’t even realize are there.
Words that have become the background music in the soundtrack of our lives.

But my message today is this:
No matter who you are.
No matter what you have or have not done.
No matter what someone else thinks of you.
No matter what you think of yourself.
No matter what is happening or not happening in your life today.
No matter your past.
No matter your present.
No matter what, who, when or why – YOU. ARE. LOVED.

Because God’s love for you in not based in YOUR performance.
It is based in His.
Who He is.
His character.
His heart.
His goodness.
His God-ness.

I have held many, many babies in my arms through the years.
And never once have I looked at that child and quantified whether or not they could be loved.
“Oh, you are not cute enough to be loved.”
“You are not quiet enough to be loved.”
“You are too fat to be loved.”
“You are too broken to be loved.”

When you and I hold a baby and love on them – especially a baby who is family – that welling up in your heart is pure, unconditional love.
They have done nothing to earn it – because they cannot.
They are not capable of doing anything to earn your love or respect or caring or interest.
They just are.
A new child. Dearly loved.

You are NOT CAPABLE of doing anything to make God love you.
Therefore, you do not have to be any sort of “enough” to be loved.
You are loved simply because He made you, a child in His arms.
End of story.

In our brokenness, we find that hard to believe.
Hard to accept.
Because we DO love conditionally.
All the time.

But God IS love.
And He chooses love.
For the most wicked sinner.
And the humblest saint.
They are both dearly loved by the God who made them.
Simply because they carry His imprint.

If you ever fully accept how much God loves you, you will be transformed.
You will face every circumstance of your life differently.
You will stand strong, even when the world is crumbling around you.
You will be filled with joy, even as you weep in this broken world.
You will walk with your head held high, even in the midst of your harshest critics.
You will not be consumed with what others think, but instead will live to please the Audience of One.
You will find temptations will lessen.
Sin will become less attractive.
Fear will lose its grip.
Worry will as well.
Shame will not consume you.
And death will not scare you.

Because you are loved.
God delights in you.
He loves spending time with you.
He longs to hear your voice directed His way.
He loves it when you say His name in praise.
And He loves it when you call out to Him for help.
You are never too much for Him.
And you are never not enough.

Here’s proof:
When Jesus walked from the courtroom to Skull Hill, a guard walked in front of him with his crimes listed on a placard for all to see.
That sign said, “The King of the Jews”.
But what it should have said was, “He dies in the place of Kathy, for the following sins: worry, lying, lust…” And the list would go on and on. In fact, it wouldn’t fit on the sign!

He died in my place.
Before I was born.
Before I committed one of those acts.
He knew.
He knew all I would be.
And all I would not be.
He knew all the ways I would revile His authority and spit in His face.
He knew all the ways I would give in to temptation and break His heart.
He knew how my wiring would get me into trouble.
He knew all the things I should do that I don’t.
And still He stumbled forward on that road, having taken the beatings I deserved, to be crucified in my place.
I didn’t ask Him to do it.
He chose.
Because He loves me.

Now do yourself a favor.
Picture that scene.
The narrow streets of Jerusalem filled with jeering crowds.
The women who loved Him, following Him weeping.
His back bent under the cross beam.
The crown of thorns pressed into his skull.
His clothing soaked with blood.
Four soldiers surrounding him as he walked, ready to land a hard blow if he stopped or tried to escape.
And the sign-bearing soldier in the front of the procession, clearing the streets.
And on that sign, your name.
“He dies for the sin of ____, which are these:…”
And the horrible list.

And because of that scene, here is how God sees you today if you have accepted the free gift of salvation:
Wiped clean.
Every sin paid for.
Deleted from the mind of God when you asked for forgiveness.

You, made whole in His sight.
Clothed in spotless white.
Made gorgeous by love.

Yes, you.
YOU are loved.
As Michael Card sings, “God cannot love you more and He will not love you less.”
You. Are. Loved.

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