Living in Perfect love.
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (NIV)
We tend to see the opposite of love as hatred. However, this passage educates to reveal fear as the opposite of love. Hatred is behavior born out of fear. We hate when we fear someone is threatening to take something from us be it a loved one or freedom. The reality that our fear of losing something we treasure can lead us to hatred should be an eye-opening revelation making clear our need to guard ourselves against fear.
Fear is absolved only through perfect love. The source of perfect love will never be a person. The fountainhead of perfect love will forever be Christ and Christ alone. He is our perfect love. However, as we are immersed in this perfect love, we can more progressively live in this love and project this love to others.
What makes God’s love perfect? It’s perfect for two reasons. First, it is a love that seeks the best of others even if that requires sacrifice on His part. The cross is the prime example of perfect love. The Bible says no great love is there than the willingness to sacrifice for someone else even to the point of giving one’s life. Secondly, perfect love never changes because of the recipient’s actions. God never stops working for our good regardless of our behavior.
I used to see this as true for believers alone, but I do not believe this anymore. Not even the spirit of death can separate us from the love of God. The difference is the Holy Spirit gives to believers the wisdom to perceive a Kingdom perspective and the discipline to not be controlled by their emotions so God can use every moment for our good.
When I am fully convinced that God is all-powerful and always loves perfectly, then what do I have to fear. If God is always going to provide for me what I need and that no one person or group is strong enough to keep Him from giving me all I need, what is there to fear?
I need not be fearful at any moment because I rest in His perfect love. When I am no longer afraid of what anyone might be able to do to me, I am free to love them in perfect love. No matter what they do or what happens in the world, God will give me all I need for life and righteousness. This is living in perfect love.
Prayer: Help keep my eyes aware of Your perfect love that I might not let fear produce hate in me. Amen.