Intentional Progress in 2022: Life Lessons From Jesus (Part 46) – When You Are Convinced God Loves You!

by Rick

This morning we continue our journey into this year, focusing on making “Intentional Progress.”  I shared six steps to intentional progress with you, and I will continue to walk through them over the next few months.  Here are the six steps.

Here are the steps again:

1.  Pray/Discern

2.  Plan/Prepare

3.  Wait/Discern God’s Timing

4.  Execute/Measure Progress

5.  Wait/Faith & Patience

6.  Receive When Harvest Time Comes

In this series, we have sought to glean life lessons from Jesus.  We looked at John 5, 6, 8, 12, and 14-18.  We are now in chapter 19.  Today we will look at the same passage we did yesterday.  

(John 19:23-27 TPT)  

23  Now when the soldiers crucified Jesus, they divided up his clothes into four shares, one for each of them. But his tunic was seamless, woven from the top to the bottom as a single garment. 

24  So the soldiers said to each other, “Don’t tear it—let’s throw dice  to see who gets it!” The soldiers did all of this not knowing they fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among them and gambled for my clothing.” 

25  Mary, Jesus’ mother, was standing next to his cross, along with Mary’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  

26  So when Jesus looked down and saw the disciple he loved standing with her, he said, “Mother,  look—John  will be a son to you.”  

27  Then he said, “John, look—she will be a mother to you!” From that day on, John accepted Mary into his home as one of his own family. 

Yesterday I shared two points from this passage.  I had a third theme, from something John said about himself, that I will focus on today.

So what does this mean for you today?  A few things.

1.  Your life will change forever the day you get convinced that God loves you!

This lesson does not come from Jesus in the text. It comes from John. John said, “So when Jesus looked down and saw the disciple he loved standing with her…” Notice how John mentions “the disciples he [Jesus] loved,” but he does not give a name. Later it is clear he was talking about himself. Remember, all scripture is given by the inspiration of God. This means that the Holy Spirit led John to call himself “the disciple Jesus loved,” and he did it on more than one occasion. The Holy Spirit was okay with John calling himself that, and he is okay with us seeing ourselves the same way.

I will give you a few other examples where John did this:

One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.” (John 13:23).

So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” (John 20:2).

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.” (John 21:7).

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) (John 21:20).

John called himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved” in his early writings, and if you read his letters (1st, 2nd, and 3rd John), which were written when he was about 90 years old, you will see some of the richest teachings on God’s love in the Bible. It was Grandpa John, towards the end of his life, after all the other disciples were dead and gone, who told us that God IS Love! It was Grandpa John who spent decades seeing Himself as “the one God loves,” who used the word “beloved” over and over again in his writings. The word “beloved” literally means: being loved.  

John did not just want us to know that God is love, but he wanted us to see ourselves as people who are actively BEING LOVED by God on a daily basis. Grandpa John explained to us that we could not even love God if He had not FIRST LOVED US! John emphasized God’s love, and He is an example of what happens when you fully embrace the love of God. You see yourself as THE ONE GOD LOVES!

2.  When you fully embrace the love of God, it changes the way you see God, the way you see yourself, the way you see others, and the way you see life.

— Knowing God IS love is one thing, but fully embracing His love towards you is quite different.

— Many people have no problem seeing God as a good God.  What they have a problem with is believing God is good towards them.  They focus more on their mistakes than God’s goodness.  The gospel of grace is a message that drives home the point that God loves you and wants to use you despite the mistakes of your past and even the flaws of your present.

— The Apostle John never claimed to be perfect.  He even warned us against people who claim perfection.  What made John different was that he unashamedly believed and received the love of God towards him.  Our lives will be changed, like John’s was, the day we fully embrace the love of God.

— You will never believe God to be used supernaturally until you know God loves you unconditionally.

— You will never see yourself being used by God to perform great exploits in this world until you know God loves you and He wants to use you because He is so good, not because you are.

— You will never fully open your heart to become the man/woman God called you to be until you are convinced (fully persuaded) that God loves you.

— Amazing things happen when you can look in the mirror and see yourself as the ONE GOD LOVES!

3.  Your faith won’t even work until you are fully persuaded that God loves you!

(Galatians 5:6 KJV)  

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.  

— Faith works by love! Faith only works when you are convinced that God loves you and that He wants to use you for His glory, because of His grace, and not your performance. This is true because invariably, your performance will not be good enough to measure up to the magnitude of the assignment wherewith you have been called. So if you are not fully embracing God’s unmerited grace, you will never see yourself as worthy enough to receive God’s best.

— God calls you to do things that exceed your education and experience. He calls you to do things that far exceed your wildest dreams. So if you are not convinced that He is only calling you to do it because He loves you and NOT your performance, you will never build up the faith required to believe God to actually do, THROUGH YOU, what He revealed.  

— Faith works by love! Your faith will be strong when you are convinced that God ONLY wants to do what He wants to do in/with/through your life because He loves you! Because He is good, not because you are!   

— When God reveals His plans to us (plans that exceed our plans), we are then in a situation where we have to choose. We can choose God’s plans, by faith, without a clue as to HOW they will come to pass. Or we can choose to continue down the path we were already on, chasing our dreams and desires based on the plans we came up with. God wants you to choose His plans over yours, even though you don’t have all the details. This is hard. This requires faith. And this is why faith only works by love.  You will NEVER WILLINGLY choose God’s plans over your own unless you are convinced that He loves you and that He will never hurt youFaith requires trust. For you to give up your will for God’s will, you have to trust God, and you won’t trust Him with your whole heart unless you are convinced that He loves you!

Jesus went to the cross, fully empowered by the love of the Father.  He was able to accept the Father’s will because He knew He was loved.  You will be able to do the same thing when you are convinced, not that you love God, but that God loves you!

That’s enough for today.

Declaration of Faith

Father, this is a year of Intentional Progress for me.  You made plans for me for 2022.  You made Your plans before the world began.  My job now is to simply discover and deploy into what You have already provided.  I declare that I do!

 I already have the victory.  I don’t pray FOR victory.  I pray FROM victory!  Victory is both my starting point and my destination.  I know I have the victory You already provided, and it is not because I am so good, but because I am the one You love.  I am Your favorite.  I am Your beloved.  I am being loved by You daily.  I am the target of Your love.  I am the apple of Your eye.  I am Your pride and joy.  I am Your son/daughter, the one You love, the one You chose to bless from the foundations of the world.  So I enter this day as the one You love, and Your love changes me forever!  GREATER IS COMING FOR ME because I know You love me!  I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name, Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper.

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