ODJ: Always Loved

December 9, 2016 

READ: Ephesians 1:3-6 

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us (v.4).

In spite of my many fatherly mess-ups (and lately I feel as if I’ve had more than a few), my deepest hope for my two sons is that they will know I love them, and that my love comes from God. If you want to prod me to tears, get me to talk about my hopes for my sons. There are few places where I could feel more anxiety than when I consider the uncertain future: Will they grow up to be good men? Will they follow truth and life? But what I do know, without doubt, is that I love my boys fiercely—that I have always done so and will always love them.

Our good Father loves us fiercely, and His love wholly embraces us. “Even before he made the world,” Paul tells us, “God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes” (Ephesians 1:4). Before we even existed, God set us apart—insistent on loving us. Consider this: There’s never been a moment of your life when you haven’t been the object of God’s love.

Before we breathed our first breath, before we ever accomplished anything, before we’d achieved something we could claim as success, before we advanced in our vocation or made our parents proud, before we crafted a life . . . God determined to love us. “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. . . . It gave him great pleasure” (v.5).

Of course, God knows the depths of our human waywardness. So even knowing how we’d blunder, how we’d mess up close relationships, how we’d cave to addictions—He loved us. He knew in advance about how we’d become callous or greedy or selfish, how our hearts would grow cold, and how much we’d make an absolute mess of things.

But God loves us still.

—Winn Collier

365-day plan: 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12

Read John 15:16. How do these words from Jesus add another dimension to Paul’s words in Ephesians? 
When have you felt unwanted or estranged? How might you consider Jesus’ words (“I chose you”) this week and meditate on how deeply Jesus has embraced you and loved you?