“Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love.” – 1 John 4:18
A love that has no fear. A perfect, constant, love. It’s what we depend on, and it’s what we strive to show others. Love is the number one medium when it comes to displaying the heart of Jesus. Galatians 5:13-14 talks about how we have been called to live in freedom, but how we are to use that freedom to serve one another in love.
The importance of love is presented time and time again throughout the Bible. A love found in freedom – one that’s gentle, kind, selfless, and patient. But sadly, that’s not necessarily the love that’s always presented in the world today. Because we live in such a fallen world, I can almost guarantee that you, dear reader, have had an encounter with “love” in this world that left your heart hurting. And how scary is it to continuously show others love when we can feel so hurt by it?
I’m with you. I’ve been there. It was my biggest fear for so long. I had been hurt by a false impression of what love is. I was terrified to accept love, and scared to give love. I didn’t want to feel that same hurt from that false impression of love again. Nothing but the grace of God was able to fix my broken heart and my outlook tainted by the world.
But here’s the thing. There is a huge difference between man’s love and God’s love. It’s simple to define really.
Look at 1 John 4:16. “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
God is love. At the end of the day, nothing this world says about the topic really matters. Not only is God love, but He is the most perfect love. And He is on your side, 100%. No matter who disappoints you in this life, He will never turn on you. His promises cannot be broken, and friends, there are so many of those beautiful promises that will help to heal you, and to help you step out into receiving that perfect love.
“… He who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” – Isaiah 43:1 ESV
He created you, He formed you. He was there from the very beginning – He gave us our beginning. And through all the ups and downs you’ve faced since then, He’s been right there.
Time and time again, heartbreak after heartbreak, let down after let down, He still sees you. He looks past the mistakes, He sees the messiness of the hurt that you feel, and He picks you right back up again. He calls you by name. He has redeemed you, and there is nothing that can undo His love for us. There is nothing so deep that His love cannot restore. He is not going anywhere.
Philippians 1:16 says this: “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Jesus Christ returns.” There is so much beauty in the long-lastingness of this promise. The stability that we find in Him is so comforting. That promise of His faithfulness is reiterated again in Deuteronomy 31:8, telling us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. There is no reason to be afraid, because we are His.
The love of God is unlike any other. When the world paints the picture of needing to meet a certain standard in order to be loved or accepted, Jesus welcomes you just as you are. Not only does He welcome you, but He pursues you. He chases after you with a love so strong that light dwell within Him.
“He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.” Daniel 2:22 ESV
There’s nothing that Jesus doesn’t know; nothing He doesn’t see. Yet He loves us just the same. Knowing that, how much simpler does it seem to allow ourselves to not only be filled up with that love, but to be able to pour it back out? It seems a lot less scary, doesn’t it? The hurt this world throws our way doesn’t stand a chance against the redeeming power of the love of our God. So really, what is there to fear? His perfect love casts out any and all fears that our minds are capable of coming up with.
Even though it’s terrifying, and even though it sometimes hurts, let yourself surrender your heart to that all-consuming, perfect love. I can’t promise you that it will be easy, but I can promise that the change will be so worth it. Not only will it change the way that you receive His love, but it will change the way that you love others. And it is such a beautiful thing.
1. The enemy masks fear differently for everyone. What are some the obstacles you’re facing right now that are hindering you from stepping out into that perfect love?
2. Fears will pop back up in our lives, but there’s no reason to let them gain control. How can you learn to recognize and stop those fears before they becoming too consuming in your life?
God, we would be lost without You and Your perfect love. Thank You chasing after us, for loving us unconditionally, and for casting out all of our fears. Help us to find comfort in knowing that You see everything that hides in the darkness. Remind us that light dwells in You, and that we have no reason to fear, for You are greater and You are stronger. Help us to claim Your promises as our own. Make us brave, make us bold, and help us to mirror Your perfect, fearless love. Amen