In college I had a friend named Keith who came from a very legalistic church background. He believed you could become so “sanctified” that you’d never sin again—but if you did sin, God would revoke your salvation in a mere moment.
I’ll never forget the letters Keith would write to me during our summer break. “Dear brother Jim,” he would begin each letter, “I’m happy to report that I am still saved.”
Wow. Although I’m not exactly sure what I wrote back to Keith, I probably wanted to say, “I’m still saved too…but I never doubted that I would be!”
Even though I’ve never met anyone whose views were as extreme as Keith’s, lately I’ve realized that many of us have a similar defect in our theology. We’re probably not worried about entirely losing our salvation, but we’ve adopted the subtle misconception that our Heavenly Father’s love and favor are as fleeting as a butterfly and as fragile as fine China.
Sorry for all the mixed metaphors, but perhaps the best word picture is the way insecure lovers sometimes peel off the petals of a daisy to ascertain where they stand in their relationship:
“He loves me…he loves me not…he loves me…he loves me not…”
Do you see how dismal this approach is in your relationship with the Lord? Yet that’s exactly what happens when you base your confidence in God’s love on the current circumstances in your life:
You got a raise at work? He loves me!
Your car broke down? He loves me not!
You received an unexpected financial windfall? He loves me!
You received bad news from your doctors? He loves me not!
Fortunately, you can stop this daisy-petal spirituality once and for all. Instead of continually wondering if God loves you or loves you not, you can simply believe what He tells you in His Word: “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
There are two primary reasons why this is fantastic news: First, God has already demonstrated His love for you through a past event—the death of His Son. This means there’s no longer any need to focus on your circumstances or peel off daisy petals to determine whether He truly cares about you.
Second, it’s important to notice that God didn’t decide to love you AFTER you cleaned up your act and got perfectly sanctified. Instead, He showed His love when you were still His enemy, living a life of sin and rebellion. Paul concludes, “If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10).
This shows that God’s love for you isn’t based on your worthiness but on the incredible worth of what Jesus did for you on the cross. Quite a difference!
Does God love you? YES! Does He want to show you His favor and bless you? YES! Is His love dependent on some kind of perfection on your part? THANKFULLY NOT!
When you get rid of your daisy-petal view of God, you can finally REST in His love and mercy. Why? Because your relationship with Him is based on His grace “from start to finish” :
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! (Ephesians 2:7-10 MSG)
So are you ready to be showered with God’s grace and kindness? Then it’s time to throw away your daisy and believe His love letter to you in the Scriptures.