I’m a new believer and I’m really struggling with the whole ‘Jesus loves me’ thing. How do I really feel God’s love?
We can find it hard to believe Jesus loves because we find ourselves to be unlovable. Think of it this way: you might have really great friends, but a friend’s love and loyalty can be put to the test when you do something wrong in your relationship with them. The good news is we can be certain that no matter what we do, Jesus is the perfect friend whose love isn’t based on what we do!
Is Jesus’ Love Really that Simple?
The thing that distances us from God’s love is sin. Sin is when you either do something that you shouldn’t do, or when you don’t do something that you should do. For example, it could be lying (something you shouldn’t do) or not speaking up when someone you know is getting bullied online (not doing something you should do).
Peter was a really good friend of Jesus’. But when Jesus needed him most, Peter sinned by betraying him (something he shouldn’t have done). But Peter’s sin didn’t turn off Jesus’ love for him; it created distance between them, keeping Peter from experiencing Jesus’ steadfast love. Romans 8:38-39 tells us, “… nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love…”
Since Jesus was without sin, his death has the power to make us right in our relationship with God. By dying for us, Jesus forgave all our sins, meaning that sin no longer stops us from experiencing his love.
How Does Jesus’ Death Lead to Love?
Colossians 1:13-14 says, “for he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.” Because you accepted what Jesus did and put your faith in him, your sins are forgiven and you are now free from the sin you couldn’t escape before. You’re going to still struggle with sin. But it no longer defines you. It is Christ’s love and perfection that defines you now.
Why Do I Feel Guilty?
But what about the guilt you still feel when you do something wrong? Because Jesus is in your life, you can talk to him about it. In fact, Paul (someone who did really violent things before he became a believer) said that the whole point of guilt is to lead us to the place where we choose to live differently (see 2 Corinthians 7:10). In christianity, admitting to Jesus that you’ve sinned is called confession. After confessing your sin and talking about your feelings of guilt, Jesus can help you turn your life around and become the person he wants you to be. The process of confessing your sin and choosing to live differently afterwards is called repentance and is key to having a healthy relationship with Jesus. God is perfect, so He can’t mix with sin, because sin is imperfect. Without Jesus, sin separates you from God permanently. But with Jesus, sin only creates distance from you experiencing God’s love in your life. So when you sin, ask God to forgive you and repent, which literally means “make a 180 degree turn”; turn the opposite way and start heading closer to God’s best for you.
How Do I Experience God’s Love Today?
So what does all this mean? And how can you really start feeling God’s love today?
- Thank Jesus for his love. Make it a habit to thank him for dying for you on the cross and for the fact that he’ll always love you.
- When you mess up, talk to Jesus about it! Long ago, he knew that you’d be a sinner, that you would struggle with sin, yet he chose to love you and die for you anyway (see Roman 5:8). In response to this love, you can choose to be honest with him and confess your sins, knowing he has already defeated them!
- Ask him for the strength needed to do the right thing. For example, you can tell him that you want to stop lying and to have an honest heart instead. Or you can ask him for the courage to stand up for your friend. It brings honor to Jesus when we practice repentance and ask him for the strength to live the life we were truly meant to live.
In 1 John 1:9, Jesus tells us that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Make it a habit to confess your sins and to repent. He is faithful and will walk with you as you take these first steps in your new adventure of faith. And if you’re curious about how exactly he works in you through repentance, read our next blog about how you can feel God’s power in your new life with him!