Does God Only Love Me Because He Has To?

Among the many immeasurable attributes of God, Christians speak of God as being “all-loving.” Yet oftentimes this raises a fear within us: This week, Jo and Vince discuss why God loves, and how we can be sure God’s love isn’t due to obligation, but is actually his genuine feeling toward his children. Does God actually want to love us, or is He just forced to by his character? We often don’t feel very lovable; does God feel the same way about us?

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I’d say it depends on what you mean by, “He has to.” If you mean that God is compelled by His loving nature, then absolutely! I couldn’t help loving my wife for 40 years until she passed away last March. I love her still.

But if you mean that He is obligated to love us against His will, then I would say that God’s will is never contrary to His nature. He loves us because He loves us - and He always will.

The very idea that God would be obligated to some law alien to Himself Who is the ultimate Lawgiver somehow seems self-contradictory.

I hope these thoughts help you!

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When I heard the question, I had the same thought that Jo mentions: That we struggle to really know what love is. I would add that many don’t experience true love in this world, so identifying it properly is a struggle.

That’s a strange idea that God would have to love anyone or anything. I’m not sure why He should have to. I really don’t think He does .

Vince and Jo agree with you! God doesn’t love because He has to. He didn’t even have to create since He is complete in Himself before the creation of anything in existence. As you said

Whose very nature is love would not need a law to obligate Him to love the very beings whom He created specifically to shower His infinite love upon.

So true! So by choice (which is an essential component to love) He created us to love us.

I wonder too if we put too much of our humanity on God when we talk about His love?

It’s so easy to think that we have to do or be something significant or present perfection in our life, our social media, our family and have important titles for our work environment in order to deserve love. That may be how the world works, not how God works.

He is love. Love isn’t something He just demonstrates in the same way we may say someone is loving. He is love. He is the definition and the embodiment of love and expresses it in perfection.

No matter how much I may love someone, I do not embody it perfectly since my selfishness will impede my love at multiple times in multiple ways in any relationship.

I like how Jo put it, “He gives you life and gave His life.” The love expressed in the Trinity between the Persons of the Trinity and then outward to us is extraordinary and unsurpassed! And returning His love should be the easiest thing we’ve ever done.

And Vince finished with a great question that reminds me of one of my favorite verses:

However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him— 1 Corinthians 2:9

Vince asked:

Do we love God because we want to?

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Dear Mr. Robert,

Be assured you were created in Love and you are loved.

Galatians 2:20 ’ I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer life, but Christ lives in me. The live I now live in the body, I live by the faith in the Son of God., who loved and gave Himselve for me ’

Blessings
~Sanah~

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Hello Sweet Sanah!
So glad you came to visit us in the podcast category! Did you get a chance to listen to the Ask Away podcast discussion between Jo and Vince? I’d love to hear what you think! (The link is above in Robert’s post.)

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My favorite part of this podcast was when Vince described the early days of his marriage to Jo.

I would tell her, “I love you,” and she would respond, “But do you like me?”

That exact question came to my mind when I read the topic of the broadcast. I know God loves me. But does He like me?

I struggle to separate my identity from what I do. Ephesians 4:30 warns us not to grieve the Holy Spirit, so it must be possible for my actions to grieve God. Does that mean I as a person make Him sad? How would you reconcile this verse the idea that God delights in us, which Vince shared from Isaiah 62:4?

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Great podcast, I agree with Vince and Jo!!
For my part, “does God love me?” Absolutely!!! But does He like me? Yes, yes, yes, yes and in case I wasn’t clear YES!!!:heartbeat::heartbeat: Even when I don’t like the sin that dwells in me. The Godhead Loves and Likes me and can’t wait( with reverance)for me to come home(heaven) when my work is done!!! And by and in this great love of God He has captured my heart and set me free from the rule and reign of sin so that I now want to love Him!!!

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Ephesians 4:30 warns us not to grieve the Holy Spirit, so it must be possible for my actions to grieve God. Does that mean I as a person make Him sad? How would you reconcile this verse the idea that God delights in us, which Vince shared from Isaiah 62:4?

I think that’s a great point, Jennifer. Most of us can probably relate to this struggle. I think it’s very natural to associate action with worth or value.

I come at this from a parent perspective. I think raising children is one of the greatest gifts to understanding how God sees us (and watching the herds of sheep owned by my neighbors! LOL!)

When I am aware of something a child has done that is sinful (lying for example) I know it’s important to deal with the action in order to train in godliness, but it doesn’t detract from the delight I have in the child. It’s an opportunity to refine, mold, (whatever word you may use) more into the likeness of Christ and help them see their need for a Savior. It’s also my job to warn, protect and define limits as a parent as this is another way that we love.

My love for my child(ren) isn’t conditional on her/his perfection, but rather I delight in the very gift of their presence. I love hanging out, preparing their favorite foods, hearing about their day. These are all things inspired by our glorious God and His desire for relationship. He does these things with me!

His Word is filled with love and direction where He outlines the parameters of protection for us so that we maintain health and wholeness. The very fact that you know when you have grieved the Holy Spirit and it saddens you indicates you are a daughter of the King, and He’s got you!

Not to say that discipline is pleasant, but it’s part of the process God has put in place to keep us near.

And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Hebrews 12:5-6

He deals with us individually and gives us opportunity to experience blessing and discipline as His child using both to reveal His nature and His love for us.

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Hi Ms. April!

Oh my! There is a podcast to hear! :laughing:

My marbles roll a little slow sometimes. It was a bit late at night and way past my bed time I am to think. I want to paint some today so I will listen to it then and come back here in a bit. It seems like a very nice thread and group! I think I have met most everyone here!

Also thank you for your kind words. I am trying to find that place again where Ms. Carrie posted so I can thank everyone for such warmness and all of your prayers. :revolving_hearts:

Blessings,
~Sanah~

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Glad you are here! Each podcast posts at a different time, so this category has some variety. I’ve had so much trouble with my notification settings (and computers in general.) I have to go away and take a break from the laptop. I think your idea to do some painting is a great idea! Art is so therapeutic. I love mixed-media, and making journals, etc. Something that gives quiet creative time and doesn’t involve stress!
Take care, dear one.

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I read John 14:23 (ESV) recently, and it made me think of this discussion.

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

I know God’s love isn’t conditional, but this verse sounds like it’s saying I have to love Jesus in order to receive God’s love. What does John 14:23 mean?

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