I'm sitting in church, beside me our three year old leans his head against my arm and places his little hand in mine. My heart swells with love for this little guy, and expands even more as I look at the rest of my family sitting around me. I breathe a silent prayer of thanks for all God has done in my life and for giving me Mr. Pepper and our four children.
The pastor is standing and repeating things, much in the same way he does every Sunday in his low monotone voice.
"God loves you," he says. "You are special to Him. He delights in you. When he looks at you He says well done. He's proud of you. You are worthy!" He keeps speaking more platitudes of how awesome we are, and how much God loves us.
For a long time these types of sermons have bothered me, and the more I thought about and tried to decipher my feelings the more confused I felt, because what he says is true. God does love us, His children are special to Him, but something is missing. Something is off, and quite frankly, wrong.
I was pondering all of this again and I think I have come to a conclusion.
It is true, God does love us. He loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us, but God is also a Holy God, one whom we should worship in fear, in awe, and with great thanksgiving.
Somehow along the line the focus has become on us. How great we are. We're awesome, just look at me I'm worthy. Even God thinks I'm great. When instead our focus needs to be on Jesus, on God. We serve a Holy God, a just God, a God of love and mercy. Without Him we are nothing. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. When God looks at me I want to stand covered in the righteousness of Christ, not in the illusion of thinking I'm something so special and wonderful.
God's love is a life-changing, redemptive love that reorients the soul from self gazing to staring in awe at our wonderful Saviour.