NUGGETS OF GOLD a monthly Blog by David Nofziger
Knowing God’s Love at a Heart Level
November 1, 2020
It is much easier to receive God’s love at a rational or head level rather than at an emotional or heart level. Have you ever heard someone say, “I know God loves me up here (pointing to their head) but not down here (pointing to their heart)?” This is actually quite common. The rational part of the brain is the conscious part of the brain, while the emotions are often centered in the subconscious. The conscious mind can rationally accept the truth of God’s love found in the Bible and believe it at a head level. The subconscious forms beliefs around what we experience and our feelings tend to reflect what we believe at that deeper level. But how do we experience God since He is Spirit rather than flesh and blood?
I believed the message of the gospel at a young age and received Christ into my life as Savior and Lord. It was quite easy as a child. After all, I was barely out of the Santa Claus stage. As a teenager, I felt I loved God and appreciated His Salvation, but I didn’t like myself very much. Our conscious mind thinks in rational constructs and there was a rational construct about God that negatively affected me as a teenager. I had a low self-image and didn’t like myself very much. The rational construct went like this: “God hates sin, I am a sinner, therefore God must ha…” I couldn’t really go there because I had been taught in church that God loves me. So my feelings landed somewhere in between those two paths. To be honest, I think I felt that God “put up with me a sinner.” I believed that I was going to heaven and felt that God’s love was His willingness to put up with me. But, of course, that did not feel like being deeply loved by God at a heart level.
It wasn’t until college that those feelings began to change for me. As I studied the Bible, I began to allow God’s word to speak more deeply into my heart by personalizing God’s word. For example, after studying John 3:16, I rephrased it to make it more personal. The words, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” now became, “Dave, I love you so much that I sent my only Son to give His life for you so that you could put your faith in Him, become a part of My family, and live with Me forever.” I could experience those words by memorizing them and believing that it was God speaking those words to me. I was now experiencing God’s love. I would allow God to say those words to me during my morning prayer time. After about four months of hearing those words every day, I began to feel God’s love in a deeper way than ever before. My heart was finally receiving that important truth from the Bible.
I was now feeling God’s unconditional love for me and it was indeed a wonderful feeling. A deep feeling that has never left me. Grasping that truth at a deeper level also started changing my rational construct. As I continued to study the Bible, I started to realize that sin was an evil force in this world. I also realized that sin, or this evil force hurts me and hurts others. Finally, I became aware that even though I was a sinner, I was not sin. Yes, sin was within me, hurting me and hurting others, but I was not sin
ll of those truths combined to give me a whole new rational construct: “God hates sin because He loves me and others so deeply.” That made sense to me; I could relate to that. If something is hurting someone I love, I hate that which is hurting them. I could now fully receive God’s love and love myself, even though sin was within me. And if that were not enough, I started hating that sin within me in a greater way than ever before. I now wanted deeply to get that sin out of my life with God’s help because I loved myself and loved others, and I did not want that sin hurting me or others anymore. I felt as if I was starting to see sin as God sees sin.
These truths have continued to guide my life for many years now. I have enjoyed getting to know God through His word in ever-deepening ways over my lifetime. I have also enjoyed sharing these truths with others and seeing their lives changed as well by God’s wonderful love. God is very good, and I am grateful to be a part of His family. If you would like to discover more about how God’s love can transform your life, I invite you to preview my book, BRAIN WASHED, Transforming Your Self-image through the Amazing love of God, at HopeAliveCounseling.com/wp/resources-2.
Nuggets of Gold is a monthly Blog focused on Personal growth, Marriage Improvement, and Parenting Issues. Your comments can be entered below. They are always welcome and suggestions for future posts are appreciated. Thank you for allowing me to share these thoughts with you.
David Nofziger has been the director and lead counselor at Hope Alive Counseling Services in Defiance since 1989 and author of “Brain Washed, Transforming Your Self-Image through the Amazing Love of God.” He and his wife, Sue, attend Family Christian Center in Defiance where they head up the church’s mission program. Visit HopeAliveCounseling.com for more information.
BRAIN WASHED Transforming Your Self-Image Through the Amazing Love of God, by David Nofziger.
If you enjoy “Nuggets of Gold,” I would like to recommend this book to you which brings you an entire pot of gold. This pot of gold is not at the end of an imaginary rainbow, but is found in the transforming power of the love of God.
The key to fulness of life is discovering who we are in Christ. Our self-image is one of the most important factors affecting our growth and wellbeing, and we need a Christ-Centered Self-Image. In this book, you will learn how to allow the truth of God’s love to penetrate deep into your heart and transform you in such a way that you take on the “Image of Christ.”
All profits from books that are sold through the Hope Alive Counseling Website go to counseling scholarships for clients with financial needs.