John 3: 17, For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. NKJV
It's obvious when you look at creation as a whole that God loves diversity. Debbie and I have three sons, and each one of them is different from the other two. They're distinct in almost every way, even though they're brothers. It amazes me to watch each son become their own person, and as I watch the maturation process developing each of our children into the person in which they are to become according to God's plan, I realize that I am witnessing the vastness of God in their individuality. At the same time, even though they are very different from each other, I can see the connectedness of love.
In much the same way that God looked beyond our sins, weaknesses, and flawed behavioral patterns in order to love us back to Him, we are to grow in love toward each other. When God saved us, He didn't look at us, as though we would always remain the same; instead, He saw us as the people we would become when we chose to accept and embrace His love. As a pastor, I have the privilege of watching the children of our church over the years as they grow up and become young adults. It amazes me to watch as these young adults begin to walk in a new season in their lives and how they struggle to make sense of their beliefs and how to apply them to everyday life.
Paul tells us in Romans 3 that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are all broken vessels in need of God's love in our lives so that we might be transformed into the original masterpiece that was intended by our heavenly Father. Inevitably, each young person has to come to the place in their faith walk where they must decide whether they're going to depend on God and allow Him to love them through their struggles, or choose to rely on "self." Even though we sometimes choose to walk away from the Lord, it doesn't prevent God from continuing to love and protect us.
In spite of our flaws, God has made a commitment to mankind to love us through the hard seasons of life. We all struggle at times over our faith in God because we are faced with difficult decisions and fiery trials while living in this corrupt world. This is a normal part of maturing and of coming to know the God that Christians call "Abba Father." Just as God didn't condemn us as sinners, but sent His only-begotten Son into the world that we might be saved, God is still deeply in love with us, as He works in our hearts to cleanse and to mature us in His love.
Even though we taught our children beginning at a very early age about Jesus and salvation, each of them has their own belief system. This has taught me a very important principle. Sin has definitely had a major impact on all humans in the way we view God and how we each respond to God. Even though we were originally created in both the image and likeness of God, sin altered the image and changed the likeness in which we saw God. Therefore, we have a "world view" of God before we come to the knowledge of the truth. As sinners or fallen humans, we have our own way of thinking and believing... but not according to truth.
The Bible teaches us to train up our children in the way they are to go and when they're older, they won't depart from that path. God is our heavenly Father, who not only loved us while we were sinners, but continues to love us while He changes our hearts to see Him through eyes of truth. If you're a child of God, then you're on the same journey as me. Together, God is working through our mistakes, failures, and sins to bring us to the knowledge of the truth and to know His love, which surpasses knowledge. Through it all, God has never stopped loving us. Although He has loved us, He wouldn't allow us to remain the same as when He picked us up out of the miry clay. We may be broken, but we must never forget that we are deeply loved by our Creator and heavenly Father.
Covered by the Love of God,
Pastor Asa Dockery