The timeless Sunday School song “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so..” If you are like me, you were singing it at age three. But as I have grown in my relationship with God over the span of my lifetime, I now know His love for me first hand and not only because the Bible told me so. Now, I am not undermining the song, I am simply stating that I have experienced His love personally and not just read it from the pages of His Word.

But for many years, instead of focusing on the fact that God has unconditional love for me and humming along to hymns that tell of His love, I have often found myself playing the “He loves me, He loves me not” game. I have assumed that the love He has for me depends on the how good I have been, how great of Christian I could be, how much of His Word I could recite by heart, how many good deeds I had done, how much money I was willing to give to the poor, how willing I was to help those in need, and the list could go on an on. I was basing His love on what I did instead of what HE did.

Facts are, He died for me before I ever had the opportunity to sin, He declared His love for me before I was formed in the womb, He had already decided He would be my savior long before I came to realize I was in dire need of one. For all the times I thought “He loves me not”, I couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

When I have willingly sinned, He has loved me.

When I have shunned Him and ran from Him, He stood with arms open wide awaiting my return.

When I have chosen every other path except for His, He never stopped pointing out the way I should go.

When I have failed Him miserably, and found the courage to get into His presence, I was greeted with affection and not with a cold shoulder.

When I have been angry and blamed Him for things He didn’t have a part in, He never became defensive in explaining His side of the story, He simply was understanding of my feelings and never pushed me away.

He has never shamed me. He has never neglected me. He has never made me feel alone….matter of fact, there have been times He has been the only one there.

I’ve always been welcome in His presence, regardless if I felt worthy enough to be there. He’s never been too busy, never rushed, never made me feel as though I was a pester or a nuisance. As I look back on the many years I have known God, I honestly cannot say there has been one time that I could state “He loves me not”.

His love is overwhelming, never changing, and always consistent. His love will chase after you fiercely, continually, and forever. He will never stop pursuing you. He will never give up on you. He loved you enough to die for you, taking your place, and on top of that gave you free will to choose if you will love Him back. He died for you with no guarantee you would return your love for Him. That, my friends, is a love that is hard to deny. You can be given the “list” of dos and don’ts you are supposed to uphold as a Christian, and that is easy to walk away from. It can seem like a standard to which you cannot keep, it can seem impossible, it can seem as though you are defeated before you can even get started, because in your own strength, you are. None of us are perfect. But being face to face with His truly unconditional, no-strings attached, pure love…well, that was something I couldn’t say no to. As His word says, it is His love that draws us to repentance.

His love for me is the very foundation of the relationship I have with Him. It is what I can count on when I can’t count on anything else. It is something I know I can always find my way back to. If you are in the habit, like I was at one time, of considering your own love for Him and your own actions more than you considered His, then I challenge you today to not let your short coming outshine His love for you. His love is greater than your mistakes. His love is greater than all the times you have failed. His love is greater than yours.

Jesus loves me, this I know, because He has proven it over, and over, and over. I would assume He will prove it to me countless times more.