To really understand God’s power, you have to know and believe his love for you. God loves you so much that he freely gives his power to work in your life. God proved his love by sending Jesus to die on the cross for you, even before you knew how much you needed that to be done for you. How great is God’s love for you?
Ephesians 3:17–19 says, “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully” (NLT). This verse reveals that God’s love for us is far greater than our human brains can comprehend. It is four-dimensional:
God’s love is wide enough to be everywhere. There is no place on this planet where God’s love isn’t present. There is no place in the universe where God’s love ends. In your life, you will go through many experiences that leave you feeling sad, discouraged, or alone. But you’re not alone. There will never be a moment in your life when God is not paying attention to you.
God’s love is long enough to last forever. Human love often withers and dies, because it is conditional. People say, “I love you if …” or “I love you because …,” and when circumstances change, the love evaporates. But God’s love is unconditional, so he will never, never stop loving you. You cannot make God stop loving you, because his love is based on who he is, not what you do. It is based on his character, not your conduct. This doesn’t mean that God approves or likes everything you do. He doesn’t. But your sin does not stop him from loving you. It is this unconditional grace of God, not conditional approval, that is the foundation of The Daniel Plan.
God’s love is deep enough to handle anything. No matter what hurt you have experienced in the past, what problems you’re going through right now, or what pain you will face in the future, you can count on God’s love. There may be days when you feel you have hit bottom and could not possibly go any lower. Well, beneath what feels like the bottom is the bedrock of God’s love. Nothing is deeper than his love for you.
God’s love is high enough to overlook my sins. Jesus said, “I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world” (John 12:47). Have you accepted his forgiveness and salvation by faith? This is where the Faith Essential begins. You can’t have the power of God in your life without Jesus in your life. It all starts with a relationship. Not rules. Not regulations. Not rituals. Not religion. It’s all about a relationship to God through his Son, Jesus.
God’s laws and commandments simply show our inability to do what’s right without his grace and power in us:
Its purpose was to make obvious to everyone that we are, in ourselves, out of right relationship with God, and therefore to show us the futility of devising some religious system for getting by our own efforts what we can only get by waiting in faith for God to complete his promise. For if any kind of rule-keeping had power to create life in us, we would certainly have gotten it by this time! (Galatians 3:21 MSG).
Resolutions and rules aren’t enough to change the human heart. For example, the government can create a law that makes racism illegal, but no law will transform a bigot into a kind, loving person. That kind of heart transformation requires the love of God inside.
The beginning of healthy change starts in the heart. If you haven’t yet opened your heart to God’s love, I urge you to do so right now, before you read another chapter. It’s the healthiest choice you will ever make. When you invite Jesus to be the Savior and Lord (manager) of your life, your past is forgiven, you get a new purpose for living, and you get a home in heaven. In addition, you plug into God’s power to change your life.
Here is a prayer I would urge you to pray. The words are not as important as the attitude of your heart. If you’re in a place where you can read this prayer aloud, I encourage you to do so. Otherwise, read it quietly to yourself:
Dear God, thank you for creating me and loving me so that I can have a relationship with you. Thank you for understanding the frustration I have felt in failing to change things in myself that need changing. I realize that without your help I am powerless to change my deepest habits, hurts, and hang-ups. I need a Savior, and I thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross for me.
Jesus, I need your presence, your power, and your purpose in my life. I want to turn from my plans to your plan, and from depending on my power to your power. From now on, I want you to be the Lord and manager of my life. In faith, I humbly ask you to forgive my sins and failures and help me become what you intended for me to be. For the rest of my life, I want to get to know you better so I can trust you more. I pray this in your name, Amen.