In a sermon from Luke 7:36-50 by Matt Adair a few weeks ago, he made this statement:
‘The greatest power to set you free from the addictions, afflictions and assorted troubles of this world is the felt love of Jesus.”
I think we can all say we know the difference between believing we are loved and then feeling loved by someone. We have asked members of our church to share stories of a time when they really felt loved by Jesus. There is so much power in the stories of believers, so we hope you are encouraged by these.
Our second post is by protege member Josh Hughes:
I have a strange personality because I am wired in two contrasting ways. I tend to be more emotionally driven than most men. However, I am also heavily driven by intellect. My intellect is very untrusting of my emotions. When I feel an emotion very strongly, it’s difficult for me to fully embrace that until I find a logical reason for the the way I’m feeling. A lot of the time this causes me to become stagnant and just not move forward with decisions or not enjoy relationship with God in the way He’s designed. This is a story of God being very gracious to me by working through both my emotions and tangible/intellectual evidence to convince me that He loves me.
A couple of years ago, I was struggling with a lot of shame over my sin and feeling like I was the exception to the Gospel and I could not be forgiven. I thought my sins were too great and offensive to God that He could not forgive me and maintain His holiness and honor Himself at the same time. This even led me to question the whole Christian faith and the Bible. I was blind to the grace in my life and the evidence of my forgiveness that God had already given me. I kept thinking “How can I trust the Bible? I don’t feel loved by God. I feel ashamed and alone.” But then God showed me grace by answering these questions in the most direct way I could imagine; a way in which I felt His love and with which my intellect could not argue. He pointed me to the story of a man who felt the same way and told me that God’s answer to Him was the same for me.
One day when I was in this season of shame, I was walking around campus and opened up my Bible and it randomly fell on Zechariah chapter 3. Up until this point, I probably wasn’t even aware that this was a book of the Bible, but this is what it says:
1Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2And the LORD said to Satan, ”The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” 3Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. 4And the angel said to those who were standing before him, ”Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” 5And I said, ”Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD was standing by.
I could not believe what I was reading! Not only did this speak directly to my situation, it even used my own name! How could I reason my way out of believing this? Well, I tried to anyway. But God wasn’t finished yet. Later the same night as I was driving to pick up some dinner, I was flipping through the radio and came across a Christian talk show. They were answering callers’ questions on the air and someone called to ask a question about Satan. I don’t remember the question really. But no joke, the pastors on the air turned to Zechariah 3 and read it over the air. God was reading this message aloud to me over and over! I was blown away. This was the “living and active” word mentioned in Hebrews 4:12 I finally was convinced that God’s word was true and that His forgiveness was really for me.
And if that didn’t convince me enough, God wanted to keep showering me with assurance. About a year later, when I was struggling with the same feelings, I began reading over this passage again and studying it. This was a short while after I had started coming to Christ Community, and the same week that I started feeling this way again, Matt preached a sermon on Zechariah 3! I think we had been in Luke up to the point but for some reason we took a detour to the Old Testament. I don’t think I paid much attention to the sermon honestly. I just sat and chuckled in amazement. “He really, really does mean it!” I continually doubted His love and forgiveness and He continually convinced me of it. He never gets tired of telling me He loves me and that I am His son. Hallelujah!