We live in a world that defies God. That is the point of the Adam and Eve story. The temptation to go our own way is great. In fact, like sheep wandering without guidance, ignorant of the dangers that lurk around us, we have all gone astray. That is our lot.
From Adam and Eve, throughout all of the Old Testament, this is the story of the world. This is the world into which God came, having reduced himself from the greatness of being our creator, to become one of us, in the form of the man Jesus.
That God loves us could not be more intimately or completely demonstrated for us than in the life of Jesus. Though he was God, he did not hold on to His privilege and power over us. He emptied himself for us. He came humbly and obedient to his own purpose, which was to lay down his own life for us in a demonstration of love and compassion the world had never seen before and has never seen since.
God came into the world, and the world did not recognize him or receive Him. Yet God was faithful to his purpose. He was faithful in his love for us. He was faithful to fulfill what he came to accomplish, which was to redeem us.
He came while we were yet sinners. He didn’t wait until we became holy, righteous and good. He would have still been waiting. He came to heal us from all that makes us broken, which is our innate inclination to separate ourselves from God and to go our own ways.
This is the world and the reality in which we live. The world sets itself in opposition to its creator. Many people pay lip service to God, but their hearts are far from Him. They deny Him in the way they live their daily lives. Though they honor Him with their lips, their actions belie them.
The good news, which is what Gospel means, is that God loves us anyway. He came for us while we were in this very condition, knowing the worst of us. God became man and lived among us knowing how corrupt we were, that we would reject him and knowing that we would attempt to put him to death. He came anyway. This is the extent of God’s love for us.
Our choice of how we will live in this world has consequences because of God’s love and the fact that He made us in His own image, to love him back. We are not compelled to love Him, but we are given the freedom to love Him. We are not robots or automatons who have no choice. But our choice is eternally significant.
If we choose to continue to go our own way, and insist upon our own values and ends, God will let us go. Love does not coerce or force itself upon another. God will not interfere if we go our own way, but we will be untethered from Him, drifting in our own malaise, and left to our own devices.
If we choose God, our path will be hard, because we must go against our own grain and the grain of the world. We must deny ourselves and our own desires. But if we do choose to surrender to God, God will be with us. He promised us his Holy Spirit to guide us, to teach us, to comfort us and to help us to choose God’s way, instead of our own way. We must only be willing to be willing. God can work with that because God’s Holy Spirit lives with and in the person who is surrendered to God.
We cannot know this intimate relationship with God unless we have invited him willingly, sincerely to take his rightful place in our lives. Even then, the waywardness of the human heart is so great that we will wander many times on our own. We will continue to struggle with sin and confusion and doubt, because this is the way of the world around us, and this is the inclination of the human heart.
But God is always there. He is always with us.
There is nowhere we can go that God is not present. There is no darkness into which we can walk (or run) that God is not present, there is nothing we can do that will separate us from God and His love for us. He is ever present in our lives. He even knows our thoughts and the words we are about to speak before we speak them.
Even then, God loves us. He loves us in spite of all of the ugliness and the darkness in our lives. He died for us while we were in the very worst condition. He didn’t wait for us to become clean before he would come and lay his down life for us. He is the Great Physician, but a physician comes only for those who are sick.
If we don’t think we are sick, God has nothing for us. He didn’t come for the righteous. If we think we are righteous, if we think we are alright, God has nothing for us.
The world thinks it’s alright. The world thinks it’s alright without God. The world stands in opposition to God. Where do you stand?
 Philippians 2:6-7(a) (“though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be [held on to for advantage], but emptied himself….”)
 Philippians 2:7(b) (“being born in the likeness of men.”)
 Hebrews 1:3 (Jesus is the “exact imprint” of God’s nature (ESV); the “fullness of God dwells” in Jesus (Colossians 2:9)
 Philippians 2:8 (“ And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”)
 John 1:10-11 (“He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.”)
 Romans 5:8 (“But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”)
 Matthew 15:8 (“people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (Quoiting Isaiah 29:13))
 Romans 1:20-31 (“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.”)
 Luke 9:23 (“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”)
 John 16:13 (“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”)
 John 14:26(b) (“the Holy Spirit… will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you.”)
 John 14:26(a) (“the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name….”)
 John 14:15-17(a) (“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth.”)
 John 12:17(b) (“But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”)
 Psalm 139:7-9
“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,”
 Psalm 139:11-12
“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,’
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.”
 Romans 8:38 (“nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”)
 Psalm 139:1-4
“You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.”
 Mark 2:17 (“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”)