The very fact that a holy, eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful, merciful, fair, and just God loves you and me is nothing short of astonishing.
The wildest part is that Jesus doesn’t have to love us. His being is utterly complete and perfect, apart from humanity. He doesn’t need me or you. Yet He wants us, chooses us, even considers us His inheritance (Eph. 1:18). The greatest knowledge we can ever have is knowing God treasures us.
That really is amazing beyond description. The holy Creator sees you as His “glorious inheritance.”
The irony is that while God doesn’t need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don’t really want Him most of the time. He treasures us and anticipates our departure from this earth to be with Him—and we wonder, indifferently, how much we have to do for Him to get by.
Do I Have a Choice?
While I was speaking to some college students recently, an interesting twist on the contrast between our unresponsiveness and God’s great desire for us came up. One student asked, “Why would a loving God force me to love Him?”
It seemed like a weird question. When I asked the student to clarify what he meant, he responded that God “threatens me with hell and punishment if I don’t begin a relationship with Him.”
The easy retort to that statement is that God doesn’t force us to love Him; it’s our choice. But there was a deeper issue going on, and I wasn’t sure how to answer it in the moment.
Now that I’ve had time to think about it, I would tell that student that if God is truly the greatest good on this earth, would He be lov- ing us if He didn’t draw us toward what is best for us (even if that happens to be Himself )? Doesn’t His courting, luring, pushing, calling, and even “threatening” demonstrate His love? If He didn’t do all of that, wouldn’t we accuse Him of being unloving in the end, when all things are revealed?
If someone asked you what the greatest good on this earth is, what would you say? An epic surf session? Financial security? Health? Meaningful, trusting friendships? Intimacy with your spouse? Knowing that you belong?
The greatest good on this earth is God. Period. God’s one goal for us is Himself.
The Good News—the best news in the world, in fact—is that you can have God Himself. Do you believe that God is the greatest thing you can experience in the whole world? Do you believe that the Good News is not merely the forgiveness of your sins, the guarantee that you won’t go to hell, or the promise of life in heaven?
The best things in life are gifts from the One who steadfastly loves us. But an important question to ask ourselves is this: Are we in love with God or just His stuff?
Imagine how awful it would feel to have your child say to you, “I don’t really love you or want your love, but I would like my allowance, please.” Conversely, what a beautiful gift it is to have the one you love look you in the eye and say, “I love you. Not your beauty, your money, your family, or your car. Just you.”
Can you say that to God?
Our love for Him always comes out of His love for us. Do you love this God who is everything, or do you just love everything He gives you? Do you really know and believe that God loves you, individually and personally and intimately? Do you see and know Him as Abba, Father?
Francis Chan is the best-selling author of books, Crazy Love, Multiply, Forgotten God, Erasing Hell and the host of the BASIC.series (Who is God & We Are Church). He has also written the children’s books Halfway Herbert, The Big Red Tractor and the Little Village and Ronnie Wilson’s Gift.
Francis is the founding pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, and is the founder of Eternity Bible College. He also sits on the board of directors of Children’s Hunger Fund and World Impact. Three of his books, including Crazy Love, Multiply,and Forgotten God, were immediate bestsellers hitting several national bestseller lists. Chan has given all author royalites for Crazy Love to the Isaiah 58 Fund.
Currently, Francis is working to start a church planting movement in the inner city of San Francisco and also working to launch a countrywide discipleship movement. Francis now lives in Northern California with his wife, Lisa, and their five children. To learn more about Francis Chan and his ministry please visit Multiply.