God never intended you to move on from there.
You remember that first moment you knew God loved you? Do you recall the euphoria of knowing that the Almighty God who spoke worlds into existence took note of you too, and even genuinely cared about you and every event in your life?
If you are like most, that reality probably became clear to you in the midst of great pain or failure. God’s love captured your heart. Everything about the world around you paled in comparison to this One. Every day was an adventure. Even through the most challenging circumstances, you knew you were safe in Divine care and that all your struggles were just part of a larger plan.
All God wants is for you to remain there or, if you’ve left it, to return there. That’s why Scripture calls it first love. We were never meant to leave that place but to live in its joy every day.
First love is not how much you loved God on that day—first love is how much God loved you then, and how much God still loves you today.
I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me.
Make yourselves at home in my love.
John 15:9–10 (MSG)
Settle for No Substitutes
Isn’t the record of most of our lives littered with significant periods where we wandered away from his love, seeking other things to carry our spiritual life?
Devoid of God’s presence, we are hounded by fear, guilt, and the delusion that we can earn that love by just trying harder. So easily, we find ourselves living with love-substitutes. We double our efforts to be responsible, committed, or disciplined. But these efforts don’t produce love; they can only flow out of it.
If the Lord’s love seems distant for you, let God draw you back to the Divine embrace. Find a quiet place and wait in silence before the All. God will rekindle your affection. Don’t try to go on without it. God never intended you to live even one day outside the wonder of Divine love. And don’t make the mistake of trying to earn it, either.
You can’t earn points with someone who is no longer keeping score. Jesus already filled out your card with maximum points. You don’t have to earn what he has already freely given; you simply get to receive it.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1 (NIV)
There’s No Fear in Love
Fear and love cannot exist side by side in the human heart. Though the Psalmist tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, it is only the beginning.
John discovered that perfect love casts out fear and that true wisdom is gained inside of your growing confidence in his affection. If you don’t love God, you would be well-served to fear God. Once, however, you learn what it really means to love God, you will never need to fear again.
As you grow secure in Divine love, you will come to know who God is. And knowing God, you will want to be like God. Discover that, and your calamities will never again drive you to question God’s concern for you or whether you’ve done enough to merit Divine affection.
Instead of fearing God has turned away from you, you will be able to rest in God’s love in the moments you need God most.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear . . .
1 John 4:18 (NIV)
Praise for Live Loved Free Full
“Wayne Jacobsen is seriously one of the most authentic and coolest people I have encountered on planet earth. My life is better because of his influence. His insights and honesty make my day.”
—Tracey Levinson, author of Unashamed: Candid Conversations about Dating, Love, Nakedness, & Faith
“Wayne Jacobsen is one of the most gracious, joyful, post-congregational church people I’ve ever met; with a willingness to be profoundly honest about his journey, and a wonderful lilies-and-the-sparrows trust about him, which has helped me spiritually exhale more than once.”
—Benjamin Yosua-Davis, host of “Reports from the Spiritual Frontier”
“Wayne Jacobsen is the most refreshing and encouraging brother I’ve ever known, by far . . . an absolute nonstop delight to be with, hear, and read. He always points to the Lord Jesus and is so anointed at destroying the religion-colored glasses that we all wear unknowingly!”
—Richard Hanes, a disciple whom Jesus loves, Richmond, VA
About the Author
Wayne Jacobsen has traveled the world helping people embrace a relationship with God deeply rooted in his affection for them while finding freedom from performance-based religion. Through conversation, podcasts, and books, he has shared his wit, wisdom, and vulnerability in hopes of encouraging them to know God and his ways. Wayne is a former pastor and now hosts Life Stream, which provides resources for spiritual growth, and a podcast called The God Journey, a series of conversations to encourage people to think outside the box of religious obligation and living out of endearment to God himself. Both have inspired countless people to a more vibrant faith and a greater understanding of living in the church Jesus is building in the world. He has been married to Sara for forty-four years and lives in Southern California, where they enjoy their adult children and grandchildren.