I’ve heard a lot about the word “beloved” lately.

And, honestly, I thought it was a nice word, a sweet word, but I just kind of skimmed over it.

“Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today…”

“Beloved, you are treasured.”

“Embrace your belovedness as a daughter of God.”

And then there’s a disciple who is called beloved: John. Not the Baptist—the brother of James, Son of Zebedee. The one sitting right beside Jesus, leaning back on Him to ask who would betray Him (John 3:23, 26).

And I wonder, is this what it means, what it feels to be beloved? To literally break the word apart and be loved?

It seems that as they broke bread with Jesus, they broke the word apart to learn how to break the world apart from the Enemy’s chains that shackled them so tightly to their sin.

Be loved.

And so, what would you expect from the Beloved Disciple except that he would write on love? So much that one letter wouldn’t suffice, but there are three letters in addition to a Gospel that highlights the love of the One who gave all for us to become beloved.

At the end of the first letter, John talks about God’s testimony being greater, better than human testimony. And God gave us testimony—a declaration of truth; an authentication—of our faith: the gift of eternal life in us in Christ (1 John 5:5-13). And this made me think of another “testimony” God gave about His Son, back in Matthew 3:17: “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.’”

There it is again, that word, “beloved.” A word that I now have to know: What does it mean?

It comes from agape—it’s an unconditional kind of love.

It means “very dear.”

It means favorite.

My favorite, though? It means “worthy of love.”

Because you, in your faith in Christ, are beloved—worthy of love—too (Romans 1:7). You see, the “worthy of love” Son died in your place to make it so. So, be loved, beloved—and know that this is who you really are. As theologian Charles Spurgeon said, “We are not to form an opinion about it (the truth of our salvation; our belovedness) but to believe it, for the Lord has said it.”1

And here, in this moment, these words spark a soul-deep knowing: I am beloved. I am worthy of love.

I am free.

*Photos may be shared with credit given as follows:
Original post “(Be)loved” by Stephanie Cross at https://storycraftnc.com/2022/02/22/beloved/.

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