Listen to the Full Audio Version Here
If someone were to ask you, what does loving look like, what would you say?
Many of us would begin to describe the feel-good emotions associated with the concept of love - the feelings that come with security, attachment, and intimacy.
We would begin to describe the feeling of being on top of the world and in a state of happiness.
But according to 1 John 4, there's something missing with this description.
1 John 4 says,
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also." 1 John 4:7-21 NKJV
What struck me about the description of perfect love from this passage are the words "perfect love casts out fear."
This was an earth-shattering message for me, and one I've failed to consider until now. Many of us would agree that we want to love God, others, and ourselves. And yet, we still feel the fear of not pleasing God, or others. We still tell ourselves that we're not good enough and worthless.
A perfect love that casts out fear is the type of love Christ had for us. We will fall short of this form of love, but there is hope. Our weakness and failure can be overcome by Christ's perfect love for us. All we have to do to tap into this strength and perfect love is to think of the love that Christ had for us.
Charles Spurgeon once said,
"I know that some of you are greatly distressed because you cannot love Christ as much as you would like to do, and you keep on fretting because it is so. Now, just forget your own love to him, and think of his great love to you; and then, immediately, your love will come to something more like that which you would desire it to be." The Secret of Love to God
We will fall short of this perfect love. But the good news is that when we fall short all we have to do is think about Christ's perfect love, which never fails or falls short. His love always endures and never changes.
Here are 3 takeaways to keep in mind about perfect love -
1. Perfect love casts out fear.
- Fear cannot exist in the presence of perfect love.
2. Perfect love does not fear not being loved in return.
- When we have perfect love, we don't fear the chance of not being loved or accepted in return. We let of this fear in exchange for the peace that comes with unconditional and selfless love.
3. Christ's love for us is the ultimate example of perfect love.
- And when we fall short of having perfect love, all we have to do is think on His love for us. When we think about the love He had for us, His love flows into us, which overflows unto others.