We have come to know [by personal observation and experience], and have believed [with deep, consistent faith] the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides continually in him. In this [union and fellowship with Him], love is completed and perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him]; because as He is, so are we in this world.1 John 4:16-17 AMP
We all know that perfect love casts out fear. Or more correctly, most of us have memorized that verse. But do we truly understand it?
There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].1 John 4:18 AMP
Whenever you see the word ‘perfect’ in Scripture, think mature. Perfect is not attaining to some state of flawless perfection. It’s not a static definition, void of life. Perfect means fully grown, mature, measuring up to the fullness of Christ. It’s being spiritually complete. I hope I’m not confusing the issue more.
For example, think of dog shows. The winner is the one who conforms the best to the breed standard. Believers are no longer dogs of different breeds, tribes or nationalities. We’re a new creation, a new creature in Christ. Christ is the standard that we measure ourselves against. How well do we conform to the standard? How well do we love?
Love, love, love. That’s the Trinity. The Father loves us. He sent His Son to demonstrate His love and teach us what love in action looks like. He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us to transform us from selfish, fearful creatures that live according to the flesh into selfless, fearless servants of God who walk according to the Spirit.
Love involves self sacrifice. As we serve God, we become living sacrifices. Daily we take up our crosses, crucifying the lusts and passions of our flesh and yield ourselves to God to be His representatives here in this place.
When you understand how much God loves you, you can face anything with grace and peace. Do you truly get it that Christ Jesus died for your sins to be washed away? You’re free. Faith is your get out of jail free card. We are no longer slaves to sin, prisoners of our sinful nature. There’s been a jail break, and love opened the door.
Evangelism and disciplemaking are two expressions of love that God invites us to join Him in. If you love God and people, you’re going to want the best for them. You’re going to speak the truth in love. Evangelism is sharing the greatest message ever told to humanity, the Gospel. The Gospel has the power to save people. Let people know that God loves them. Show them in tangible and intangible ways.
Disciplemaking is the rest of the story, once they come to know and believe in Jesus as the Son of God. A day doesn’t go by where I’m not applying the Gospel to the daily situations in life. We humans tend to forget or doubt God’s love for us and our eternal security in Christ. Life happens and we misinterpret the signs as a judgment instead of a test. That’s why we need our fellow believers to encourage us everyday to keep on walking in the truth.
Let me encourage you today. Love is what it’s all about. If that’s the most important thing, then let us keep our focus there. Love doesn’t cost a thing, because Jesus already paid the price so that we can abide in God’s love forever by His Spirit.
Some people have a lack mentality. Or a scarcity mentality. They think resources are limited, so they fearfully hoard things to protect themselves instead of being generous. The truth is, there’s no lack of love in God. There’s more than enough to go around. So share it freely. Furthermore, everything belongs to God and exists for His purposes. Selfishness is a sin that shows a person doesn’t trust God to meet all their needs.
We need to understand God’s love, God’s authority and God’s sovereignty. If you can wrap your mind around those, your heart will be at peace.
May you know God’s love today in an experiential way. And may He use you as a messenger of that love, to bear witness of the truth to a lost, broken and hurting world. May you be the peace and love that counters the tide of fear and anxiety. Tell the truth. Share the Gospel. Heal the sick. Deliver the oppressed. Be filled completely with the Holy Spirit and give God the glory. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.