What does it mean to have the love of God?
Hey y’all, Tiffany here.
Last week in our Sunday Thoughts, we talked about how we had been praying to know how to help our oldest feel happy and confident. The overwhelming answer was to show her how much God loves her. To help with that, I turned to the scriptures to better understand the love of God.
Did you know that “love of God” really has two different meanings? As I searched scriptures about the love of God, they fell into one of two categories:
- The love God has for us
- The love we have for God
At first, it felt a bit like the chicken and the egg. Which one came first? The list of verses I was researching had verses about both almost mixed together.
Until I found 1 John 4:19: “We love him, because he first loved us.”
Then it was clear: God loved us first.
The love God has for us
God loves each one of us as if we were the only person in the entire world. No matter how lonely you may feel, He loves you.
At first, that sounds a little hard to wrap our minds around. Almost as if because He loves all of us, His love for us individually isn’t all that special. Kind of like in The Incredibles when Dash tells his mom that saying because everyone’s special, that’s like saying no one it.
But love doesn’t work that way.
Think of the important people in your life: does the love you have for one change the love you have for another? Does having a child make you love other children, or even your spouse, any less than you already do?
Of course not.
God knows you. Individually. This quote says it all: “The least significant person in the world is worth more than galaxies and worlds to our Father in Heaven.”'The least significant person in the world is worth more than galaxies and worlds to our Father in Heaven.' ~Gordon B. HinckleyClick To Tweet
That means that even if you had been the only person in the entire history of the world, God still would have created the universe. Just for you.
The Atonement would have still happened. Just for you.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, the Savior of the world took on the punishment of the sins of every single person, individually. He would have done it just for you.
In fact, He did – there was a moment in that Garden where He thought of you. Your life. Your experiences. Your sorrows. Over 2,000 years ago, during the most important moment in the history of all creation, the Savior had moments where He thought of you, and only you.'There was a moment in the Garden where Christ thought of you. Your life. Your experiences. Your sorrows. Over 2000 years ago during the most important moment in the history of all creation, the Savior thought of YOU.'Click To Tweet
Can you feel the love He has for you?
The love we have for God
Now because God loves us, and He has done so much for you, we love Him. When we begin to understand the love He has for us, then we love Him in return. How can we not?
It makes the first great commandment to love the Lord our God easier.
And all He asks of us in return for all of that shared love is this: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
When we love God because we understand His love for us, following His commandments becomes clearer. We desire a closer relationship with Him, and we yearn to do things to please Him.'When we love God because we understand His love for us, following His commandments becomes clearer. We desire a closer relationship with Him, and we yearn to do things to please Him.'Click To Tweet
The love only grows
I love my husband and my children. And sometimes, I love them more than other times.
When my husband remembers our anniversary and does something sweet, I love him a little more.
When my kids bring me flowers they’ve picked, I love them a little more.
God loves each of us because we are His children. But when we obey Him, when we serve others, when we follow Him – then His love for us grows.
Consider the following scriptures:
- Deut. 7:12-13 “if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them….he will love thee.”
- John 10:17 “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life”
- John 14:21 “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him.”
- John 16:27 “For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me”
And as His love for us grows due to our righteousness, our love for Him grows as well! It’s a never-ending circle of growing, expanding love.
So remember, when you are feeling alone, that you are “encircled about eternally in the arms of his love” (2 Ne 1:15) because you are worth more than the wondrous creations of the universe.