A trusting relationship with our Creator begins with the realization that He loves us unconditionally and desires to prosper us. He says to us, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” (Jeremiah 29:11). God’s love is the key that unlocks human potential. His love transforms our lives. It empowers us to rise above our challenges, and this love helps to heal our wounds. A loving relationship with God also enables us to place our trust in Him and to place our lives in His care.

God is the source of all love. And His love is a powerful, life-promoting force. Researchers have found that emotions powerfully impact our health, either positively or negatively. Experts have singled out love as foremost among the human emotions capable of promoting and maintaining health and achieving healing. It seems something deep inside our cells responds positively when we feel love. Love appears capable of sparking healthy biological reactions in much the same way as good food and fitness.

Dr. Bernie Siegel, a Yale physician and the author of the best-selling book¬†Love, Medicine and Miracles, affirms the power of love. “Unconditional love is the most powerful stimulant of the immune system. The truth is love heals.” This gift of love from God is a wonderful promoter of well-being and has amazing healing effects, not only when it is shared between God and man, but also in relationships with others. One study found that recipients of love can reduce the risk of coronary artery disease, hypertension, cancer, and alcoholism. Another reports that feeling loved is the strongest predictor of an individual’s sense of positive self-esteem. Other benefits of being loved include increased levels of immunoglobulin A (a marker of immune function) and smoother, more regular heart rhythms. On the other hand, another study found that a lack of love shown to parents by their children was associated with higher levels of psychological distress. Loss of love was among the most common reasons given for suicide or suicidal behavior.

The results of these studies add an important perspective to our understanding of how belief in God affects our well-being. How we believe in God is also important. We receive the most benefits when we place our trust in God’s unconditional love for us. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself,” (Matthew 22:37, 39).

It is important to realize that all love originally comes from God. Love flows from God to us, which in turn enables us to love Him back. This relationship then frees us to have pure God-given love for ourselves. Only when we have pure love for God and for ourselves can we truly love our neighbors. This amazing flow of love promotes life and healing.

When we accept God’s unconditional love for us and wholly trust in His power to transform our lives, we are energized to take better care of ourselves in order to reflect His character to a needy world. Love will motivate us to make healthy choices, to rest in His peace, to surround ourselves with a healing, health-promoting environment, to be active in mind and body, to trust fully in Him, to serve others, to have a positive outlook colored by love’s grace, and to eat for strength, vigor, and health. We will be motivated to take care of ourselves so that we might fulfill His mission of service.