God is expressing His love for us all the time—even when we are not aware of it. God is speaking our love language and we can know or feel His love as we become aware of His presence in our everyday lives. We can become aware of our value to Him and of His activity in our lives as we seek Him. As we set our hearts and souls toward Him, we can actually experience the wonderful presence of His love. The first step in experiencing God’s love is simply to acknowledge that we want to experience His love. This sounds simple but so often, it is the one step people miss. Try saying these words out loud to God right now:
“Jesus, I want to experience Your love. I believe You died on the cross to pay the penalty for everything I’ve done and left undone. I believe You conquered death by rising from the grave. I want to know You. Come into my life and lead me in the way of love.”
This simple prayer expresses to God our desire to be loved. This prayer recognizes that it is through what Jesus has done for us through His death and resurrection that we can live in love with Him. This prayer acknowledges that we want to live God’s way, to be led by Him. This is an important prayer because it opens the door for us to be loved by God. Again, consider saying this prayer out loud to God right now.
“Feeling God’s love isn’t about just making ourselves feel better, it is about finding hope, peace, joy, and purpose.”
God is always loving us, but this prayer tells God we actually want to know His love. Experiencing God’s love answers so many of our heart’s deepest longings. As we begin to live into love, we find ourselves free from the worries of life. We come to believe that we have worth, that we are seen, that we matter, that we are known, and that we belong! God is speaking our love language and as we receive it, we find hope and peace through Him!
What about the Bible? You may not be a Bible reader yet, but once you open the door of your heart to God’s love, you will find that the Bible takes on a whole new meaning. The Bible for most people is just an old book full of genealogies and strange sayings, but when we open our hearts to God’s love, the words of the Bible come alive! As you put this book down, consider picking up the Bible and looking for how God is speaking your love language there. Try starting with the book of Psalms and the book of John. Try reading a chapter from each of those two books a day for the next few weeks. Watch for the ways God is reaching out to you, encouraging you, wrapping you in an embrace more powerful than human hands. Look for the ways God is leading you to become a loving person of peace and joy.
Everything changes when we know we are seen, known, and loved. When we feel God’s love, we find ourselves transformed from the inside out, and this propels us to join God in what He is doing around us.
What I (York) didn’t realize as a child was that every time we burned a Bible on the side of our home, every time we mocked God, every time we turned a blind eye to God’s love in our lives, we were literally burning hope, mocking peace, and closing our eyes to the joy and purpose that comes from a life of love. When we experience God’s love, we don’t merely get warm fuzzies. Feeling God’s love isn’t about just making ourselves feel better, it is about finding hope, peace, joy, and purpose. When we experience God’s love, it does something to us. It electrifies us!
Some people use the expression “on fire for God.” That’s what happens when we encounter the love of God: we are “set on fire” in that we get a new source of energy that burns within us! When I (York) finally decided to receive God’s love and follow Jesus, immediately I had an unexplainable energy, a fire in my heart.
As I read the Bible, prayed, and followed Jesus, I found myself brimming with purpose and hope, and that drove me to love the people all around me. I found myself loving the homeless on our block, loving the prostitute at the bus stop, loving my angry neighbor, my rivals on campus. I began to love my family more deeply and my friends more purposefully. This love within me grew because I had received it from God!
We become lovers when we are loved. We can tell people they have worth when we know that we have worth. We can help people know that they are seen because we’ve been seen by God! There is a near-unexplainable joy that comes when we’ve been set free from the worries of being invisible or forgotten, or from a sense of worthlessness. When we know we are seen, known, and loved, it sets a fire within us. That is what happens when we love and are loved; it is a friendship that catches fire and, in turn, sets our world on fire as well!
by Gary Chapman and R. York Moore
In a world of varying beliefs and endless opportunities, determining how to spend our lives can seem impossible. And even more difficult than...
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