I grew up in rural northern Nigeria and I can remember from an early age, sitting in Sunday school being taught by evangelical missionaries from Canada and the United States.
I accepted the Lord as a young girl, but I cannot recollect exactly how old I was. I didn’t exactly understand as I now do, the love of God. My understanding of God’s love was limited.
I equated God’s love with being loved only when I performed good acts, I thought that the love of God was conditional, or contingent on my good behavior. In other words, I thought God extended His love to me, only when I was totally obedient, that I had to work hard to be loved by God!!
With this screwed up view of God, I was in constant fear of God, equated Him with wrath rather than love, and felt I wasn’t loved, each time I did something wrong.
Whenever it rained and thundered, I went straight on my knees in prayer and repentance because of the fear of being stricken by thunder in judgement by God.
This unhealthy fear of God resulted in my walking away from God in my young adult years, and asking myself:
Who wants to serve a God who is constantly angry?
Who wants to serve a God whose love is conditional, and based only on good behavior?
Who wants to serve a God whose love is not eternal?
Who wants to serve a legalistic God?
Now I know these were all lies from the enemy, who has come to steal, to kill and to destroy.... but God has come to give us life and life more abundantly. (John 10:10, NIV )
Now I know God’s love is infinite, and it is the gift of God extending throughout eternity. God’s love cannot be earned!!! Again, IT IS A GIFT!!
God’s love is deep, high, wide and long. It reaches to the highest heavens! (Ephesians 3:18, Psalm 36:5)
My response to God’s love with my finite mind and understanding, is to receive God’s love by accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, repenting of my sins, and asking Him to make a dwelling in my heart. (John 3:16)
I have long made this confession and now live with the peace of knowing the unmerited gift of God’s love.
Oh, how sweet to know that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God found in Christ Jesus, our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39)