The Internal Enemies of Love

In An Unhurried Leader, one of my favorite chapters is titled “Questions That Unhurry Leaders.” It’s rooted in the Romans 8 passage that ends in these memorable lines:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

So nothing can actually separate us from the love of God to which we have confident and free access in Christ. Nothing.

There is no supernatural power that can get between us and the measureless care of God for us. There is nothing that can happen today or tomorrow that can block us from experiencing God’s affection and delight. Nothing can overwhelm us and nothing can sink us in the face of the unfathomable love of God for us. All of these things are utterly true.

So why do we sometimes feel like we are unloved even though what Paul says in these lines is utterly and absolutely true? Good question, right? When I think about this question, I end up with answers that are mostly about my thoughts and feeling rather than about external enemies.

Anxiety comes along and says “What if this?” and “What if that?” We are tempted to worry about being loved rather than restfully trusting in reliable love. Anxiety cannot separate us from the love of God because God is the powerful Prince of Peace.

Despair comes along and attacks our hopefulness. It paints a foreboding future in which the love of God fades to black. But despair cannot separate us from the love of God because God is the God of every and all hope.

Insecurity comes along and whispers that we don’t deserve to be loved. Others are far more lovable than me. But insecurity cannot separate us from God’s reliable love because God is always God is graciously and lovingly for me. God does not wait for our worthiness to love us. God simply loves.

Accusation comes along and points out offenses, real and imagined, that disqualify us from access to such a loving God. But God never condemns. Whenever we hear an accusatory voice, we can be sure that it is not the voice of God. Accusation cannot separate us from a God who is our Defender and our Judge…and this God is for us.

For Reflection:

Stop for a moment. Say to yourself, “Nothing at all separates me from God in this moment.”
Wait a bit and see if any “Well what about…” or “Yes, but..” voices arise. Notice them. Identify them.
And then, ask God what he might have to say that is real and true (and the opposite of these negative thoughts)?

Photo by Will O on Unsplash

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