On a day filled to the brim with endless work and home tasks, I furrow my brow as I rummage through my desk drawer. Where are all my pens? I don’t want to slow down. There's too much to do! I let out a heavy sigh. Under a neon orange sticky note, I find a pen. But my eye catches on the barely legible crayon scribbles on the sticky note. The words i love you mom are accompanied by a misshapen heart. My annoyance softens as I read the love note from my six-year-old son over and over. My heart swells as I remember that this tiny person loves me.
Forgetting I’m Beloved
Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. Though it's cheesy, I find great joy in pink and red delight and overdramatic love songs. But I often forget to live as a person who is loved by the Creator and Sustainer of the universe—God’s beloved. I’ve treated wonderful truths like John 3:16 as trite instead of relishing in the beauty that God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.
Our identity in Christ as beloved people is often at odds with what culture, society, and even ideals tell us. So we develop spiritual amnesia to truths that remind us to whom we belong and where our hope lies. But often, our forgetfulness is marked by a misunderstanding of our beloved identity.
Understanding I’m God’s Beloved
To live as God’s beloved, we must understand what it means. Our definition of a beloved person may stem from movies, books, culture, or even our ethnic backgrounds. Some of these worldly examples may display pieces of the beauty of what it means to be beloved by God, but they’re incomplete. We must look to the Bible to understand what it means to be God’s beloved. There are various places in the Word where we understand romantic and brotherly love, but the type of love God has for a believer is unique. To take on an identity as beloved believers, we are marked by holiness and faith.
The term beloved is used to address leaders in the early church, people marked by holiness because they have taken on Christ’s identity. Paul addresses these people in Romans 1—people who, through their obedient faith, are holy. Over and over again in God’s Word, it’s affirmed that to be God’s beloved is to respond in faithful obedience, in loving sacrifice, and as witnesses to Christ’s power and love.
Living as God’s Beloved
Colossians 3 is written to a group of Christians struggling to understand their identity in Christ. These brothers and sisters were looking to outside sources like the culture of their time rather than to the true gospel—that Jesus came to redeem sinners from spiritual death. Paul exhorted them to look to Christ, not what’s around them, to see a true picture of what it means to live as God’s beloved (Col. 3:2–4).
When we become Christians, we put on a new identity (Col. 3:9–10). This understanding of the new self is how we now begin to live as “God's chosen ones, holy and beloved” (Col. 3:12). We have been chosen by God to be loved by him! What an incredible reminder we can cling to—a reminder like a sticky note on a pen.
God's Love Transforms Ours
When we recognize our identity as God’s beloved, his love transforms us. When we think of lovestruck people in love songs or movies, we see people floating on cloud nine only for them to be grounded by the realities of the world. As God’s beloved, what does it look like for us to love when the world is hard or difficult? Colossians 3:12–14 says that God’s beloved love each other with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and forgiveness. When we love as beloved people, our affection leads to unity. This is why the world will know we are Christians by the way we love each other (John 13:35). Colossians 3:14 says, “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
Reclaiming Our Identity
As God’s people, we should be growing in our desire to love others. To do so, we must fix our gaze on Christ as a reminder of God’s perfect love. By God’s power, we can pour God’s love out of our overflow to continuously share the love God lavished on us. This is the fruit of remembering that we are God’s beloved.
Meet the Author
Neidy (pronounced nay-dee) Hess is a Latina creative with a love of Jesus, Georgia peaches, sweet tea, and cold brew coffee. She lives in Nebraska with her three incredible niños and firefighter paramedic husband. Her family is part of a multiethnic church plant that has a heart for diversity. She works for a creative online community called Exhale as the content manager and as a copywriter.