16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 1 John 4:16-18 NLT
God is a Good Father. God loves us with an everlasting, eternal love. God's love for us has nothing to do with what we do or don't do. His love for us is not a response to what we have done, how well we did it, and how often we did it. His love for us is based on His Goodness, tender mercies, and great compassion alone.
In order to walk in the fullness of this truth, we have to move away from mere cliche, formulas, and ritualistic religiosity. Too often, the Love God has for His people is not experienced in its fullness because believers have allowed the truth of God's love to become a cliche in their minds. We say "God loves you" and many simply dismiss it as an abstract notion, not something that affects their lives directly.
I recall as a young man just about to go into the Military and a senior citizen handed me a gospel tract that stated "you are special." The tract revealed God loved me. I dismissed it at that time. I saw it as a far-away truth that could never mean much to me. Why was this? Because I was seeking validation from man and not God.
God's great Love for us is not a mere cliche. It is not just something we tell people but don't really believe ourselves. God's Love is what gives us purpose and motivation. God's Love strengthens and encourages us. God's Love for us casts out fear and reminds us of how much we are loved by a Good Father. Not an absentee father, or a neglectful father, but a loving Father who is always there for us.
In order to fully experience and walk in this great Love for us, we must move away from turning truths from God's Word into mere formulas. Sometimes, believers see God as the harsh taskmaster. If God is the angry taskmaster, we must develop formulas so as to never mess up and appease this angry god. This may not be the only reason we create formulas, but ensuring we appease the angry God/don't want God mad at me is still one reason many do.
Faith has been turned into a formula. Now it is true that there are principles of Faith i.e. believing in your heart and speaking with your mouth. But these principles though were never designed to turn Faith into a formula. We turn many truths into formulas: relationships, prosperity, healing, etc.
Formulas are really an outward expression of living a performance-driven life. If we can just get the formula right then God will reward and accept us. This is the mindset that goes into this way of thinking.
Because of the excesses of the seed-faith teaching, people teach that all our actions are "seeds." Plant enough good seeds and people all around will bless you and your relationships will be great. This is performance and formula, not Faith.
Generally speaking, when you are friendly and kind, people will be kind to you. However, this is not a law. This is not a formula. Why? Because this fails to account for other people's free will and the condition of their heart and mind. It doesn't take into account what words they have been feeding on, i.e. the words of the world, the lust of the flesh, or the words of the enemy.
I have seen it in law enforcement. Even the most patient, respectful, and long-suffering officers have been in altercations with suspects or inmates. In relationships, I have seen one spouse treat their spouse well and the other still left them, pursuing adultery instead. Look at Jesus. He is the person of Grace and still, people walked away from him and one of the 12 even betrayed Him.
The point is we can't control others. We can't make them receive love and goodness. Love is received not earned. That's ritualistic religion doesn't walk in the fullness of His Love.
Religious rituals are exercised because those who practice them still see God as angry and full of vengeance. They see Him as the harsh taskmaster. If they do this practice enough times God will finally accept them, He won't be mad at them.
We need to relinquish all these formulas and religious rituals. God longs for His people to open their eyes and see just how much He loves them. He wants His people to know He is not mad at them no matter what.
God is not mad at us when we sin. He saw us before we received His salvation. He saw all of our missteps and mess-ups and received us in His family anyway. He knew before we were even born all the mistakes, all the rebellion, and all the selfish actions we'd take, and yet He still died for us, He still desired us, and still chose us to be in His family.
God is not mad at us, because Jesus paid the price in its fullness. Jesus satisfied the claims of divine justice. There is nothing that can make God angry at us. Under the Old, before the Cross, yes God was angry at the injustice and evils sin produced. So He did something about it. God, Himself came down to earth, lived as one of us, and chose to die for all of us. He arose victorious the third day defeating the enemy, death itself, and the grave.
Certainly, God is not pleased with our actions when we lose our temper with our spouse or loved one. He isn't pleased with sinful lifestyles, because He knows the bondage it brings. Yet, He is not angry or mad at us. He isn't condemning us. The price for those actions has already been paid. His Grace and unconditional Love just lead us into better choices.
God is not mad at us. We are loved by our Father eternally. We can actually partake of this Love and receive it in its fullness. His Love is unconditional and ever-present in our lives. His Love is not a mere cliche or abstract concept. It's real, and active in our lives.
We don't have to perform to get it. We don't have to get the formula perfected to receive it. We don't have to turn relationships into rituals for God to pour out His Love in greater measure.
Formulas are man-made concepts. The truths of the Word were given by a loving God showing us the bright path to travel. Walking by Faith, walking in love, walking victorious lives are not formulas.
Don't let any minister or group try to convince you there is a formula for the perfect marriage. Marriage is the joining of two imperfect people. If both desire to flow with God and His Love then there will be harmony. No formula there. If one or both spouses don't desire God or follow His ways there will be disunity and sadly it may not last. We can only follow God, walk-in love towards our spouse, and pray for them, the rest is their decision to accept God's Love or to disregard it. Formulas are also created to shield us from hurt. In a fallen world, we may get hurt, but God is greater and His Love is there to minister healing and wholeness if that happens.
In summation, God is a loving Father who will never be mad at you. He isn't condemning you. He isn't disappointed with you. His arms aren't folded in disgust at you. His arms are wide open receiving you gladly because He loves you with an unconditional love that cannot be quenched. God Loves you!