Fully Immersed in Love

Fully Immersed in Love

Published on 03 May 2023 • Leif Hetland

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I believe this is God’s purpose for the world—a vast movement of love. He wants to reveal His love to every person, and He wants to do it through people who have experienced it. He wants a love reformation that produces an army of love ambassadors to demonstrate the Father’s heart to His world. 

But it cannot happen until we are immersed in the Father’s love. We will not see the transformation we hope for in this world until that transformation happens in our own hearts. God’s purpose for His children and everyone in this world is to receive, become, and release love. 

If you have ever loved someone deeply, you have noticed that love can make you very vulnerable. It opens your heart to be wonderfully fulfilled and opens you up to become seriously wounded. You can experience unconditional acceptance, but you can also experience painful rejection. When love is given and returned, you know you might get hurt. 

In a very real sense, God made Himself vulnerable to the affections of His own creation. He can feel grief, sorrow, and the pain of rejection. He created human beings—in His image so we could receive and give His kind of love—knowing that many would love Him and many would reject Him. He saw it all ahead of time, including the solution for everything that would go wrong. He saw the enormous sacrifice He would make to bring a rebellious world back in the love of the divine family.

And He chose you. If every aspect of this world was an expression of the heart of the Father, and if He knew all things in advance, He knew you before it all began. Take time to let that sink in. You, with all of your personality, gifts, appearance, experiences, mistakes, and opportunities, were known before time began. Who were you before the foundation of the world? What did Papa God see when He looked ahead and saw you? Did He see you the same way you see yourself today?

No. Not at all. He didn’t see you the way you see you. He didn’t love you the way you love you (or don’t love) yourself. Instead, he saw you with perfect delight. He saw clearly, purely, lovingly into the true you. God knew then and He knows even now the real you as you were created and designed to be. This is where your identity is found. His vision of you from the beginning—before all the flaws, mistakes, insecurities and fears—is who you really are.

Before He spoke this world into being, God already saw the beauty of creation, the love and rebellion of human beings, the redemption He was planning to accomplish, and all the people who would be restored as sons and daughters in His love. He knew it all, and He still went ahead with it. He had His reasons, and they were all very good. Immersing us in His love—to the point that we would be filled, overflowing, and overwhelmed with it—has always been His plan.

During my early years in ministry in the 1990s, I knew in my mind that God loved me. Like most Christians, I had that theology. I had read it in Scripture. I had preached it to congregations. I had even experienced examples of God’s love from other people. I would have quoted verses about how He loves the world so much that He sent His only Son. I had no doubt that the Father’s love was real. But I had not known the Father’s love. Not deep in my heart anyway. Not in a way that would transform me and bring me forever into the warmth, acceptance, and affirmation of the divine family’s living room. Not so thoroughly that I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I was God’s beloved son. 

Theologically, I was a son. Emotionally, I was still living as an orphan. My heart still was not satisfied. I was still working very hard in order to become someone. I was trying to earn the Father’s pleasure. I wanted to be somebody in God’s Kingdom. However, I was not convinced that I was already somebody. 

I believe many Christians can relate to that situation. But like me, they may be so convinced of the theology of the love of God that they have not noticed some of the ways they have been missing it in their experience. I didn’t know I was living from an orphan heart until God revealed it to me at a conference in 2000. Someone prayed for me and said, “Holy Spirit, come take away anything in Leif’s life that isn’t comfortable with love.” Not comfortable with love? That caught me off guard a little bit. I had no idea how true it was. Then the worship leader called me up front. “Leif, this is the Father’s song for you,” he said. As he started playing, I felt the Father’s presence come over me. It was like liquid love flowing through me, first just a trickle but soon a waterfall. I went down to the floor and felt waves and waves of love rolling over me and through me as I lay there. Images of my childhood came to mind—many experiences that had wounded and scarred me—and I could feel the Father’s love healing me from all the pain and rejection my heart had held onto for years. Everything in me that had made me feel like an orphan melted away. Everything in me that was uncomfortable with love became comfortable with love. 

When I finally got up from the floor, I had no doubt that I was a son, not an orphan. I had been burned out, tired out, and feeling left out. I was struggling with rejection. I had been a pastor and started a missions organisation. But I was like the prodigal son’s older brother—living for God because I didn’t know how to live from Him. My life was totally different after my baptism of love. Something deep inside me changed when love moved in. I knew my Papa delighted in me. I knew I was His happy thought. I felt His pleasure. I could look into His face and see him smile. I could call out to Him, “Papa!” I began seeing myself the way this loving Father saw me. I started seeing other people the way the Father saw them. I did not feel as if I needed to strive for approval or affirmation anymore. I had received love. I wanted to become love. And I wanted to release love any way I could.

If we are going to bring Heaven into this earthly realm, we need to be immersed in that love ourselves. We need to know we have an A-plus on our report card before completing our assignments. We need to look into the darkest places of this world and see them with the eyes of love. Jesus became the incarnation of love so we could become an incarnation of love. That new identity first appears in our homes, families, neighborhoods, and workplaces. But we can live it out anywhere. 

It all depends on what kind of soil is in our hearts and how we steward the seed of love that has been planted within us. This is God’s purpose for you—to carry His heart within yourself, to become love just as He is love. You begin to become the love you have received so you can then release the love you’ve become. Your heart is being saturated in supernatural love. The thread of love is being woven in and around your life, just as it has been woven in and around all of history.

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