“…nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).
In my journey of faith, I have come to realize that there are times when God speaks to us “differently.” That is not to suggest that God does not speak to us all of the time – He does. Often times we do not hear Him because we do not listen. But that is not the point that I am trying to make. The point I am trying to make is that we can read Scriptures 100 times, but there are seasons in our lives when God brings a passage back to us that we need to hear as a reminder …..
This is one of those verses. But before we get there, let us consider another reality that is vitally important to the reality of this verse …..
I believe that many of us in the culture for certain, but also in the church, discount the reality of Satan. What do I mean? I have come to the conclusion that many believe Satan to be some metaphorical image or a myth that isn’t “real.” If we downplay the power of Satan, I believe it is to our peril. Satan has but one purpose: to get back at God …
How does he does this? By going after God’s creation. And know this, Satan knows our weaknesses better than we do. He knows how to exploit them and then beat us down with guilt and shame ….
There is a reason that Satan is called the Father of all Lies. Because he is very good at lying and getting into our heads with certain things. And until we recognize that spiritual warfare is as real as the warfare we face day after day in the real world, we will not know and understand what is going on with us and we will never be able to fight against it …..
One of the lies that Satan likes to use is that we are not good enough. He likes to convince us that we are so heinous and so “bad” that there is no way that God can love us. He likes to keep our head in our mistakes and failures rather than the victories and joys that come with living as a child of God ….
Satan knows that if he can distract us with lies, distract us by getting us to fixate on our failures, he has won. Why? Because how can we ever accept God’s love and grace if we are “convinced” it is not for us?
I don’t know if you are like me, but this is something that is a battle daily for me. Believe me, I know my mistakes and failures all too well. I know my faults all too well. I also know my weaknesses all too well. And Satan knows it. And he comes after me and tries to exploit that. Some days are better than others, but the battle is real ….
But then, God brings a passage that we need to hear, in the midst of the heat of the battle and the two that stood out in my morning readings were these:
“Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(Romans 8:39).
“But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.” (Nehemiah 9:17).
Why are these passages so important? Because they counter the lies of God’s enemy – our enemy ….
The first is from Romans. Paul writes these words of truth for us to remind us that there is nothing at all that can separate us from God’s love. God’s love is always faithful and true. It is always there for us. Now, that is not to say that God loves our sin. Sin does separate us from God’s love, but by our own volition, not God’s. Acting on lusts of our flesh or committing sin is a choice. By this we are separated from intimacy and communion with God ….
I am convinced that there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love, but there is one thing that can keep us from receiving that love: ourselves ….
What does this mean? This means that though Satan may try and convince us that God does not love us, cannot love us – that simply is not true. He may not like the things that we do, that is a fact, but God still loves us, and as long as we have breath in our bodies, God is reaching out to us to receive and accept His love for us.
He is calling us to enter into that relationship with Him, that communion with Him, that fellowship with Him. He wants to love us SO much and wants us to accept that love SO much. If God says that He loves us, and we truly believe that and stand on it, Satan’s lies carry no merit ….
We need to get Satan out of our heads and God into our heart. (Psalm 119:11) says, “Your Word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you.” But I believe God’s Word in our heart is for a greater purpose than just keeping us from sin – it is in our heart to remind us what God desires for us and to help us remember, when we come under attack, just how much God loves us so that we can rebuke the lies of Satan …..
The verse in Nehemiah is equally important. Why is that? Because Satan also likes to try and convince us that God hates us because of what we do, that God is angry at our failings and mistakes. Again, I am not saying that God does not get upset with our sin. He absolutely does. But honestly, God is gracious and compassionate to us. He cares about us. He wants the very best for us. He wants us to live into the fullness of His grace for us. But again, we have to accept it ….
The good news is that God is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Does He get angry? If we keep going down the same path – eventually yes. But I would think, more broken hearted. The amazing thing about God is this: His love is greater than His anger.
At the end of the day, we need to remember the truths of God’s Word over the lies of Satan. That does not excuse sin, but we know that if we truly repent, truly seek, truly desire, God will deliver us from the power of our sin, and in fact His Word says, sin will have no dominion over us ….
And no matter what Satan says to us – God’s love is greater than our sin. And if God says we are good enough for His love, then He means it.