For my oldest, she struggles with the first issue. She thinks every time she does something wrong, it affects my love for her. She is always afraid of getting in trouble because she doesn't want to disappoint me or anyone else. I have to tell her constantly that I love her dearly, no matter what she does and even if she has to be disciplined, I am pleased with her. On the other hand, my son pushes the limits. He knows I love him and he often takes my love and my grace for granted. He is so unconcerned with my opinion and knows he is unconditionally loved which leads him to believe that he can do as he pleases.
The same tension exists in our walk with God. As I have mentioned before, I am a born people pleaser. That trait leaks over into my relationship with God. My tendency is to constantly strive for God's approval instead of resting deeply in His love. I have to constantly remind myself that my God is a good Father who loves me no matter what and when He looks at me He is so pleased by me. I don't need to constantly strive to do X, Y and Z to earn His love. I can't do anything to earn His love. Because of Jesus, I am a deeply, unconditionally loved child of God. He looks at me like I look at my daughter- He is pleased with me in spite of my constant striving, not because of my constant striving.
Some people may take God's grace for granted and their relationship with Him may look like the relationship I have with my son. They know God loves them so they presume on His grace and do what they please.
But, I would dare to guess that many of us need to hear today that God loves us deeply and He is so pleased with us. His desire is for us to rest from our striving and lean into His love for us.
I have to remind myself of these truths on a daily basis. No matter how hard we try, I don't think we can ever fully understand the depths of God's love for his children. Paul said it perfectly in Ephesians 3:18 when he prays that we "may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ". And that is my prayer for all of us, may we more fully comprehend how pleased God is with each of us every day of our lives.
He is a good, good father. It's who He is and we are loved by Him. IT'S WHO WE ARE!
Of what they think You're like
But I've heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
And You tell me that You're pleased
And that I'm never alone
It's who You are, it's who You are, it's who You are
And I'm loved by you
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am