What does it mean to love someone for a lifetime? What about for 6,000 years? What about eternity? Sometimes we get so caught up in our lives that we forget what it means to consistently love someone. We may do it subconsciously, rather than consciously, however, the result is still the same. We eventually turn away from that person—be it our spouse, parent, sibling, friend, etc. Many ask the question, How can I continue to love someone for so long…what if that feeling fades? The truth is, love is not a “feeling”, it’s an action. A choice. A willingness to share your heart and sometimes even your soul with someone. It’s taking in the good with the bad, while endeavoring to show grace unconditionally. That’s true love. Love without borders, charity without boundaries.

Let me tell you about the person who loved you this way: Jesus Christ. Did you know that He’s loved you for thousands of years? The Bible says that He knew you before the foundations of the world—before it was even created. And all this time, He has loved you. YOU. He. Has. Loved. YOU. From the beginning of time and unto eternity, He has loved you and forever will. Does this blow your mind? It should. It does mine.

How can anyone love like this? How can anyone continue to choose to love me (or you) like this? Well, it’s like this…God made you—every hair on your head, atom, and molecule of your being. He created the very breath in your lungs; He made each and every electrical impulse in your brain that allows you to function. When you create something, it goes beyond “parent” status—it’s your masterpiece. YOU are God’s masterpiece. Yes, you. Think of how you feel or might feel for your own child, and multiply that infinitely. That’s how much Jesus loves you.

God spent time hand-crafting you. He knew you before you were born—before the foundations of the world, He knew you. Now, the world’s been around for about 6,000 years. Imagine someone loving you, continuously and devotedly for that long. God does…and not just that, but He’ll continue to love you FOREVER. You ask why? How? Here’s the answer…

God the Father sent His Son into the world to live a life without sin. Not just that, but Jesus (God’s Son), also had to willingly lay His life down for you. Our God cannot tolerate sin—He’s holy (perfect) and cannot be in the presence of anything less than perfect. When our ancestor, Adam, brought sin into the world by willingly eating of the forbidden fruit (and blatantly disobeying God), he created a divide between himself (and all his children) and God. Adam destroyed the perfect communion between himself (and his family) and God. But God loved Adam just as much as He loves you. And He didn’t want Adam’s disobedience to take away the relationship He had with His beloved child. Therefore, He made a way to cover over Adam’s sin (and those of the human race) by sacrificing HIMSELF (God the Son) for us. Jesus (God’s Son) is the only perfect being to ever live—and as such—was the only one who could bear this responsibility.

This is how much God loves us: He died for us, in our place. Who do you know that would do that for you? Greater love has no one than that he lays his life down for his friends. Your mother or father, or maybe even your sister or brother, might do this for you…but what if you had someone that hated you? What if this person couldn’t even stand the sight of you? Would they die for you? Would you die for them?

The Bible tells us that while we were still enemies of God, He died for us—knowing that some of us would never even care about His sacrifice. But here’s the thing—for those of us who accept His gift, He gives eternal life. Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” Why would He love us even when we hated Him? It’s simple—we’re His creation. He never wanted our sin to separate us from Him for all eternity, but without Jesus Christ, it would. We cannot reconcile with God on our own (by our own actions or merits)…only Jesus standing in the gap with His ultimate sacrifice (His own life) can fix what was marred by the Fall. When we believe Jesus’ sacrifice as payment for the sins we committed, we are then covered in HIS righteousness before God from that moment on. Romans 10:9-11 says, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.””

So, now that you know that God has loved you since the before the foundations of the world (over 6,000 years) will you now believe He loves you? One day, when you’ve left this earthly plane, you’ll return to your maker—on that day, only one of two things can happen: 1) you are covered in Jesus’ righteous standing and will enter Heaven to be with Him for eternity, or 2) you will be sent to live away from the presence of God forever. Every good thing is of the Lord: light, life, happiness, joy, freedom, peace, wonder, amazement, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and LOVE. If that is true, imagine a place where none of these things exist—that place is literally Hell. Darkness, death, sorrow, depression, imprisonment, fear, terror, anxiety, hopelessness, apathy, torture, evil, harshness, and hate. Why are these things what Hell is comprised of? Because Hell is the absence of the presence of God.

If you don’t desire to love God for eternity, that’s the choice you can make here and now. But, on the other hand, you can choose the freedom that Christ provides for all eternity. You can choose to live in His Love, in His Light, in His Life—forever. Your ransom wasn’t cheap. Jesus was beaten, bloodied, and nailed to a cross. He was whipped and stripped naked. He was mocked and spit upon. A murderer went free instead of Him, when given the choice by the government of that day. The beauty of Easter isn’t in this horrible torture and death, but rather in Jesus’ victory over the grave in His triumphant resurrection.

Jesus was laid in a tomb for 3 days after being crucified to death. BUT, on the 3rd day, He rose from the grave, forever gaining victory over death for those that believe in Him. All this because He wanted to spend the rest of His eternal existence with YOU. He. Loves. You! He’s calling out to each one of us…you, me…and even your worst enemy. He loves us all with that burning passion. He loves us so much that He would do whatever it takes to save us—which is exactly what He accomplished on the cross (and He’d make the same choice in His love for us every time).

You and I struggle with the concept of loving someone for 50 years…but God has loved us since the beginning of TIME. Faithfully. With all of His being. He’s pursuing your heart even in this moment; showing you how much He wants to be with you forever. Will you believe in Him? Don’t spend one more day away from (or rejecting) His love.