1 John 4:1-19, 1 Peter 2:1-3, John 15:18-21, Psalm 36:1-12
As a sweating Meatloaf (the singer, not the potluck dish) once belted out, people will “do anything for love.” We are fools for love, risking life and limb and bank account for it. It is the stuff of storybooks and Hollywood. Love overcomes fear and logic. It enables us to do amazing (and sometimes idiotic) things. It is incredibly powerful – whether the love of a woman, a parent’s love for a child, or a best friend’s loyal love.
There is a love that supersedes all that, though – the love that marks us as followers of Jesus. It is perfect love because it is God’s love, the love that moved Him to give up His Son to make us His own children. It is the love that sent the Holy Spirit to be our guide. It is the love that gives us the assurance of our place as His children and our freedom from His judgment. As children of God, our acts of love are because of this Perfect love. We love because we are loved. We are marked as God’s family by two things: professing Jesus as Lord of our lives, and this perfect love from God.
If our love for a partner, a child, or a friend can overcome our fears, what can this perfect love from God do? 1 John 4 tells us it drives out fear. It does not mask fear. It does not make us fools or steal our left-brain. It doesn’t mask the consequences for our actions. The perfect love from God sends fear fleeing.
As mortal, sinful people we will still be afraid, but might that not mean we have lost sight of God’s love for us in Christ? Might we, in those times of fear or worry, have lost touch with the Spirit who assures us of our place in God’s family? We have the single thing needed to never be shaped or defined by our fears again: the unfailing love of God.
Imagine a life not marked by insecurity or worrying what people will think. Imagine stepping up and doing those things our consciences prod us to do but our minds refuse to. Imagine realizing that the love we have from God is too great to keep to ourselves, so we simply tell others about it instead of clamming up.
But we do not have to imagine. We are children of God because of God’s great love for us. We have His love in us – perfect love. We do not need to fear trials or persecution. We live in the shelter of God’s love and are defined by it.
Written by Barnabas Piper