I grew up a Christian, but I had a very self-centered worldview. I only loved God for what He could do for me. As a result, I spent most of my time angry with God as He wasn’t providing. In His goodness, He didn’t provide because He desired more for my life. He longs for an intimate relationship with me, and that can’t happen until I learn to truly love Him.

Three and a half years ago, I made a decision that changed my life. I made a commitment to love God unconditionally. Whether He ever provided for me or not, I would love Him. That decision led me to freedom from sin and bondage; I was a new man. Something was still missing, though. I had an eternal hope, but I was still depressed and had no joy in my life.

The issue is I was still trying to earn His love. However, as we are learning this week in DTS, God already loves us as much as He ever will. There is nothing that we can do to make Him love us more.

For me, the Respect the Corners track has been quite grueling; I have been really struggling. However, this past week, I received several prophetic words from people telling me that I need to praise God amidst my suffering. God didn’t call me to praise Him because He is trying to get me to earn His love. Rather, He is calling me to praise Him because He knows that by expressing my love and my thanks for Him, it will help me to change my heart so that I can obtain the joy that I so deeply desire. However, when I started praising God, I discovered that it was just increasing my feelings of bitterness instead of joy. This was happening because I still had a poor view of God’s love for me. I was trying to earn something that I already had. You see, in order to be able to truly love God, you first need to understand and experience God’s love for you. That is because you will never love God more than you believe God loves you.

In the second week of our DTS, most of the students were activated in the prophetic. They started hearing God speak to them about themselves as well as others. I never received this, though. I thought, “If only I could hear God, I could experience His love for me and learn to truly love Him.” It hit me this week, however, that I do hear God. Perhaps not in the prophetic, but He speaks to me in words of instruction and correction.   Every time that I am about to make a poor choice and God gives me a word of correction, He is expressing His love for me. He knows how much pain that choice would have caused me. As it turns out, God expresses His love for me daily. All I had to do was open my eyes and pay attention.

Thank You, Holy Spirit, for speaking to me. Thank you for all the ways that you express your love for me. I love You, and I praise You, for You alone are worthy!

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