We are new creations, filled with a new belonging and a new power—all because of Christ’s work in us. In Ephesians, Paul painted a beautiful picture of this:
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 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 (Ephesians 3:16–19).
Paul desired this fullness of the Christian experience for the early believers. God desires the same for us today. Only when we are rooted in our identity and empowered by His Spirit will we live as we were meant to live.
Unfortunately, many Christians go through life without experiencing one or both of these realities. Like I did for so many years, they try to measure up to an imagined standard so they can earn God’s love through good works. This is a sad and frustrating place to live. Instead, God wants us to know what He thinks about us and to wrap us in His invisible arms of love.
The Passion Translation of Psalm 84 gives us a beautiful picture of God’s wrap-around arms:
God, Your wrap around presence is our defense. In Your kindness, look upon the faces of Your anointed ones….For the Lord God is brighter than the brilliance of a sunrise! Wrapping Himself around me like a shield, He is so generous with His gifts of grace and glory! (Psalm 84:9, 11 PT).
This is God’s promise to us. Yet, many of us have a very hard time believing it. For a variety of reasons, we find ourselves unlovable, and though we know in our heads that God loves us, we do not really believe it in our hearts. We have a hard time believing He is really as optimistic and positive about us as the Bible says.
We think, Sure, God loves me, because He is God and that’s the holy thing to do, but I doubt He really likes or enjoys me. In this way, we interpret His love as an obligation and miss the reality—that it is the overflow of His heart toward us. Yes, we did nothing to earn it, and it is not based on our performance, but it is based on who we are as His kids.
God loves who we are in the truest and most intimate sense.
He loves us at our core, and because of that, He is patient with our weaknesses. Truly, He is the best of fathers.