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Does God Love You Just the Way You Are?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

In one sense God loves you just the way you are, but it’s a bit more complicated than that.  Let’s unpack this statement.

God loves each of his children unconditionally, wherever we are, whoever we are.  Even if we are sinning, living a dissolute life, He still loves us.  But what does love mean?  The classic definition of love is to desire the good of another.  God most definitely desires the good for all his children regardless of who they are.  As human parents, we strive to love our children in the same way.  Even though they are behaving badly, we still desire their good – we still love them.

The implication of the person who says that God loves them just as they are is often that they do not need to change anything about themselves; God will be perfectly content for them to be the same forever.  Here is where they are making a serious error.

The very fact that God loves you, that He desires your good, entails that He will not be satisfied with you until you are perfect, until you become the perfect creature He had in mind when he created you.  The current version of you that lives today is nowhere near what God planned for you when He conceived your existence in His divine mind.

Your body is decaying, you suffer physically and emotionally, your thoughts are wicked, you behave selfishly, you make immoral choices every day, you neglect to think about God, you don’t pray to Him – you have a long way to go!

When God creates the new heaven and new earth, all of your flaws will be history.  You will have an imperishable body, your suffering will end, your thoughts will be good, you will put others before yourself, you will make all moral choices, you will think about God all the time, and you will commune with Him unceasingly.  At this time, God will be completely satisfied with you, but not a moment before.

God certainly does love you just as you are, but He wants so much more for you and He will not be satisfied with you until you are perfected.  Never use the fact that God loves you as an excuse for maintaining your evil thoughts and behavior.  The good that God desires for you is far beyond where you are today; it is past the horizon that you can immediately see.  There is no higher love.


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Comments

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    Bill,

    Maybe better to say God loves you as a human being, as one of His creation, but not to use the phrase “just as you are?” He loves us enough to want us to change and to provide a Savior so that can be accomplished (which you said). But He definitely does not love us “as” we are, but hates the way we are. That does not mean he doesn’t love us despite our condition. I think it is much better to abandon the phrase all together and just say, “God loves you and wants so much for you.” Isn’t that what His (righteous) jealousy is all about? Yet, we do come to Him as we are so that He can change us from the inside out.

    Walt

  • Andrew Ryan

    How can jealousy by righteous?

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    Andrew,

    When you don’t think of it in human terms that is typically unrighteous and selfishly motivated, but in view that God wants what is best for people, which is His own goodness and righteousness versus the worthlessness of the idols that humans tend to chase, if they would just accept it.

  • Andrew Ryan

    That’s not jealousy then. Jealousy is almost by definition selfish, about oneself.

  • http://tedhtunes.wordpress.com Ted

    Not necessarily Andrew. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/jealous

    If you read the fifth description of the word “jealous” we see there is more meaning to that word than we in modern times interpret it.

    God is a jealous God. Means he will not share us with another. (No idols). Just as a husband shoudl be jealous for his wife – not share with another. Not to say jealous OF, or envious, or suspicious. But jealous for – I won’t share my wife with another man. God is like that, and then some.

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    Again, that is our typical understanding of the word. Maybe you can write a letter to the Bible translation committees and let them know they shouldn’t use words that have the wrong connotations for the average English reader. : )
    Who knows, if they hadn’t used such words in the KJV of the Bible, maybe Oprah might have never left the church of her youth when her preacher had used that very word?

  • http://tedhtunes.wordpress.com Ted

    I personally feel sad for poor Oprah. Either her pastor didn’t explain this to her in a way she could/would understand, or she refused to accept the truth even if it made her just a little uncomfortable. Either way – she’s in my prayers.

  • Sterling VanDerwerker

    It is essential to avoid the fallacy of Illegitimate totality transfer when discussing this issue. The best way to proceed is to use D.A.Carson’s definitions of the “love of God” to limit the semantic range to the specific type of LOVE that you are discussing:

    Article: http://s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-documents/carson/2000_difficult_doctrine_of_the_love_of_God.pdf

    B. Some Different Ways the Bible Speaks
    of the Love of God

    (1) The peculiar love of the Father for the Son, and of the Son for
    the Father.
    (2) God’s providential love over all that he has made.
    (3) God’s salvific stance toward his fallen world.
    (4) God’s particular, effective, selecting love toward his elect.
    (5) Finally, God’s love is sometimes said to be directed toward his
    own people in a provisional or conditional way—conditioned, that is,
    on obedience.

    In light of these definitions, which is the LOVE that is used here: “God certainly does love you just as you are” ?

  • http://walttuckerministry.shutterfly.com Walt Tucker

    Sterling,

    It is true that there are various qualifiers on what “love” we are talking about when we say “love.”
    I think we are talking about (2) and (3), however, I still don’t think God loves us “just AS we are.” Maybe it is “just for WHO we are,” because we are created in His image, albeit, corrupted. And yet that love is different than that towards those who are in Christ.

  • Todd Pratt

    “When God creates the new heaven and new earth, all of your flaws will be history. You will have an imperishable body, your suffering will end, your thoughts will be good, you will put others before yourself, you will make all moral choices, you will think about God all the time, and you will commune with Him unceasingly. At this time, God will be completely satisfied with you, but not a moment before.”

    … unsubstantiated words of wishful thinking that enslave the hopeful. Who wouldn’t like to have their body restored and not have to deal with physical and mental struggles? Perhaps such words would carry enough weight that many would follow them blindly despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary and often to their detriment.

  • Mark Richmond

    Yes God loves us just the way we are. No God does not want us to stay the way we are.—Interesting statements. I agree with them in essence. However I have one caveat. There are two ways of dealing with the conundrum of how to change- one is self improvement-personal reformation which is VERY popular today. The other is walking by the Spirit NOT SO POPULAR- one relies on our inner resources with God sorta being the helper, the other relies upon the Spirit thrugh Romans 12:2. A great book on this is Lewis Sperry Chafer’s “He That Is Spiritual”. Also the fact that we as belivers STILL retain our old nature as well as the new creates the perpetual need to be transformed by the Spirit. –Many churches have wandered into a self help- fleshly mode of sanctification and its really nothing more than Satan’s lie about being good enough in our own power- we are delred righteous- not infused with it and will perpetually need the filling of the Spirit while ALWAYS having the presence of Him- but we can grieve and quench the Spirit.

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