A friend recently asked me ‘How do we know God likes us?’
It caught me off guard. Perhaps we are more comfortable as Christians dealing with the abstract, distant attributes of God, like whether He’s into predestination, or if He could make a burrito so hot that even He couldn’t eat it.
But the simple question ‘does He like me…?’ sinks deep into our needy hearts, and demands an answer.
We’ve been told a thousand times, by pastors and Christian stickers, ‘Smile, Jesus loves you!’
But…What does it mean to be ‘loved?’ Is this the same as being ‘liked’?
The digital tsunami of Christian relationship blogs have told us without a doubt, ‘Love is a choice! Not a feeling!’
But I’d like to say It’s also the act of enjoying someone. God’s love is not simply an obligatory chore. It’s genuine, eager ‘like’!
Where’s my proof? Well, the Bible presents God’s ‘like’ for you in four distinct ways:
1. The Prophets
The Holy Spirit proclaimed God’s affection and delight for each of His redeemed through the prophets and apostles. Zephaniah 3:17 says
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.
This was a message for Israel in the midst of national unrest. They were His chosen people by birth.
Imagine a man, holding a newborn son, rocking the child gently and singing over him. Tears roll down the father’s cheeks as he holds that precious life he created, in his arms.
The joy of the Father’s heart is tender and all consuming. It overflows into a gentle song of love.
If this is how Yahweh cared for Israel, how much more will He joyfully sing over you, His blood-bought child?
God went to great lengths to capture your heart.
2. The wedding
Again, God’s love-song for Israel spills out upon His Church, today. Isaiah 62:5 says
As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you.
The Old and New Testament are packed with images of God’s relationship with humanity as a beautiful marriage.
The Holy Spirit chose this metaphor for a reason.
When I go to weddings (which is a lot, since I’m twenty four and Christian), I don’t look at the Bride as she walks down the aisle. I look at him. I look at a face glowing with pride, adoration, eager expectation and love. Sometimes he sheds a tear, and tastes it as it falls over that massive grin he’s sporting.
What an image of affection and fondness.
3. The Compassion
Consider the compassion Jesus had upon the crowds who followed Him. He worried for their hunger, stamina, health and distress. He healed, provided and felt for them.
This is not a distant, ‘fix-it-then-leave-it’ kind of love. He chooses to be part of our lives. As a companion.
4. The Father
Galatians 3:26 says
In Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.
Some of us have lousy examples of loving Fathers. They treat us poorly and act as if they don’t like us. But don’t let this hinder what your true Father is showing you.
His love is joyful, unobliged, all consuming and protective.
Imagine a father who picks up his phone, not knowing who’s on the other end. You say ‘Hey Dad, it’s me’ and you just hear the smile spreading across his face as he responds ‘Hey there mate!! How are you going??’ After eagerly taking in all your news, and laughing with you over your stories, he says goodbye, saying ‘I love you! Call me if you need anything!’
He is not a malevolent Father, but one who wraps you in His arms and laughs with joy when you run to Him.
The prophets expounded God’s love and fondness. Jesus lived it out. The Holy Spirit chose the metaphors to express it.
So, does God like you? Well…do Fathers like their babies, and Groom’s their Bride-To-Be?
I think you know the answer.