God’s love for you is unchanging He loves you regardless of your love for Him. If we focus on achieving love rather than receiving love, we have the gospel backward.
Thank goodness we have examples like Peter who when Jesus was arrested, Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant. Unfortunately, Peter’s passion to defend Jesus when he was present was not evident when Jesus was not present and his own life was threatened. He would soon learn the painful lesson that his love for Jesus was imperfect.
Jesus warned the disciples that each of them would abandon Him. Despite the warning, Peter stood in strong opposition. “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will” (Matthew 26:33). Peter’s overconfidence in his love for God at this moment is striking. He felt that his love for Jesus was unflappable.
Paul once said, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:3
On the night that Jesus stood on trial with the Sanhedrin, a girl approached Peter and insisted that he was one of the disciples. This was followed by several other people who made the same accusation. In each case, Peter vehemently denied knowing Jesus. “I don’t know the man!” he pushed back (Matthew 26:72). Finally, Peter realized that his resolve to love Jesus had failed miserably. He broke down in tears at the realisation.
This must have been a tough lesson for Peter, but it also represented the start of an exciting new season. We must all reach the point where we understand our ability to love God is limited to human strength. The believer’s ability to love has been initiated, developed, and strengthened by God; therefore, we must place our confidence securely in the love of Christ. John the apostle said it best: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10). The message of the gospel has always been God’s love for humanity, not the other way around.
The moral of the story is simple. We can’t love without first being loved. We are merely conduits of God’s love to the world. Therefore, we must learn Peter’s lesson so that we place no confidence in our love for God. We must rest firmly in God’s love for us. The message of the gospel is clear. We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19), not the other way around.
Extracted from the article “Be Confident in God’s Love for You (Not the Other Way Around)’ by Robert Wachter, January 27, 2022 (www.patheos.com)