One of the most popular Bible verses from the Gospels is John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV)

For many of us, this was one of the first Bible verses we memorised and can actually still quote, especially the King James Version of it. Unfortunately, however, we often tend to see God’s love referred to in it as a global, a universal thing, rather than a personal thing. We do not doubt that God loves, in fact we are convinced that God is love as the Scriptures say (1 John 4:8). But we see it as a general, impersonal thing between the mighty God and His creation. Thus, we fail to appropriate God’s love as a personal, intimate thing as it should rightly be.

Let us for one moment look away from “the world” in the scripture above and focus on ourselves, for the Bible only talks about the world because we are its constituents, else it wouldn’t use the word “whosoever” in there. God’s love is rightly meant for us, for you and I.

God’s greatest concern is for us. The whole redemption plan is about us. It’s about bridging the gap between us and God that we might have unhindered interaction with Him as He had with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. It must break the heart of God, though, that after sending Son to pay the debt for our sins by dying on the cross, some of us still prefer not to be confronted with that fact and keep Him at a distance. We struggle in our own power to be good, we think we can earn our place on the side of good in the cosmic battle between good and evil by “doing our best”.

But if we can see that it is not for us to decide how much good is good enough and acknowledge that our best efforts often fall short of our own standards, let alone the standards of the holy God, then we will know that surrenderiing to Him is a far better option than our self-help strategies.

We need a personal revelation of God’s love for us as individuals, every single one of us. Without it, we will continue to shut Him out and strive to elbow our way through life. Then when we get exhausted or things just refuse to work, we will be tempted to accuse God of not ordering the world aright, of not insisting on fairness and justice enough.

If we have a personal revelation of God’s love for us and we are daily walking in it, we can take whatever blows that come along life’s path and remain undaunted. Nothing will break our spirit, nothing will devastate us. We might hurt and grieve for a season but we will bounce back stronger than before because the One who made us is in our corner, speaking life and strength into us, tending our wounds and sending us out again reinvigorated.

The psalmists had the revelation I’ve been referring to. They didn’t just walk in the understanding that they were from the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, each saw himself as specially loved by God and actively reciprocated that love. That is why many of the psalms written in worship sound like love songs. The threads of emotional connection, wilful surrender and abandonment run through.

Related  MUSINGS ON THE WORD:Numbers 23:19/Isaiah 48:17


No wonder, the greatest psalmist, King David, survived and triumphed in spite of the ordeals he passed through. David not only loved the Lord, many times he admonished others to do the same. The last two of the following passages show that as the others also confirm the personal relationship between the psalmists and the Lord.

“1. As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. 2. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” – Psalm 42:1-2 (KJV)

“1. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 3. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.” – Psalm 63:1, 3 (KJV)

“Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.” – Psalm 73:25 (KJV)

“1. Lord, how I love you! For you have done such tremendous things for me. 2. The Lord is my fort where I can enter and be safe; no one can follow me in and slay me. He is a rugged mountain where I hide; he is my Savior, a rock where none can reach me, and a tower of safety. He is my shield. He is like the strong horn of a mighty fighting bull. 3. All I need to do is cry to him—oh, praise the Lord—and I am saved from all my enemies!” – Psalm18:1-3 (TLB)

“Love the LORD, all you godly ones! For the LORD protects those who are loyal to him, but he harshly punishes the arrogant.” – Psalm 31:23 (NLT)

My prayer is that each of us heed this advice by receiving Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and by walking in obedience to God’s word as it is the only way to appropriate God’s love. This will open a whole new world to us, a world where we no longer feel alone, where we no longer put our confidence in stuff that can disappoint like people, wealth and influence and a world where everything doesn’t turn on our puny efforts. For when we receive God’s love and reciprocate, His grace and power become our portion and our testimony become like that of David and the psalmists. May the foregoing be our portion hebceforth in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Facebook Comments Box
The following two tabs change content below.
I am a university lecturer. I teach Mass Communication, mostly writing courses like Feature and Interpretative Writing, Magazine Article Writing and News Writing, and let’s just say I’ve been doing this for a long time. As you have probably guessed, I am a born-again Christian.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: