I grew up knowing about God’s love. My pastors preached about it at church, my teachers taught about it at school, and I read about it in my Bible. But I haven’t always felt it.
In my late teens and early twenties, I struggled with the disconnect between my knowledge of God’s love and my experience of it. I started talking to God about how I felt (or rather didn’t feel), and I began praying to feel His love more.
Over the years, my experience of His love has grown, and I’m so much better able to encounter Him as loving and smiling rather than stern and stoic. I’m so thankful for God’s faithfulness to answer my prayers!
Maybe you can relate to my story of having an intellectual understanding of God’s love but not having a very vivid emotional experience of it.
If that’s the case, I want to assure you, dear friend, that God really does want you to feel His love. In Ephesians 3:17-19 (TLB) Paul prays, “May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it.” (Emphasis added.)
God never withholds His love from you, but things such as the hurts of life, lies we believe about ourselves and God, and the busyness of modern living can impact our ability to receive all He intends for us. The good news is that the more we slow down, reject the lies, and allow Him to heal our hearts, the more we can receive His love.
Here are a few things that have helped me on my journey of experiencing more of God’s love. I pray they help you too!
Get intentional about reminding yourself of God’s love.
A few years back, God spoke to me about how much He celebrated on the day I was born. My birthday has always been special for me, so I decided that whenever I saw my birth date—4.14—I would purposefully remind myself of God’s love. Whenever I saw those numbers on a grocery receipt, or the clock, or in a scripture reference, I would say, (out loud if I was alone), “I am loved, I am cherished, I am adored, I am wanted…” I would recite all the things I could think of to affirm His love for me.
David often encouraged himself in similar ways. For example, in Psalm 45:4-5 (TLB) he reminded himself of what God had done for him, saying, “Take courage, my soul! Do you remember those times (but how could you ever forget them!) when you led a great procession to the Temple on festival days, singing with joy, praising the Lord? Why then be downcast? Why be discouraged and sad? Hope in God!” We can encourage ourselves in the same way!
Find out what the Bible says about God’s love.
Meditate on the verses you find and speak them over yourself. Write them down and put them on your fridge, bathroom mirror, or bed stand. Make a point of soaking your heart in the truth of His love. This is one of the most powerful ways to destroy lies about ourselves and about God that can hold us back from deeper intimacy with Him. Knowing His truth sets us free to experience the love, joy, and peace He created us for. (If you want a list of some beautiful verses about God’s love, check out the pretty printable I recently added to my resource library! You can get it here!)
Believe God loves you even when you don’t feel it.
Maybe you’re thinking, “It feels fake to declare God’s love for me or speak out Bible verses when I’m not feeling it.” I know what you mean! But part of walking out our faith is choosing to believe what God says regardless of what we see or feel in the present moment. As you continue to trust God to expand your experience of His love, He will be faithful to do so! Remember Jesus’ words: “Whatever you ask for when you pray, have faith that you will receive it. Then you will get it” (Mark 11:24 NLV). If you ask God to show you His love, He will show you His love!
Sometimes, I think we get so busy with our daily to-dos that we fail to recognize the little love notes God sends our way. When something touches your heart, pause and acknowledge it. Thank Him and receive it with an open heart.
Jesus didn’t come to Earth, die, and rise again so we could have just an intellectual understanding of His love. He came so we could experience it. He wants us to feel His love! Today, I’m thanking God that as you seek Him, He will reveal His love for you in fresh, new ways!
I want to hear from you!
Have you struggled with going beyond the knowledge of God’s love to actually feeling it? If so, what are some ways God has helped you through this? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!
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