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, 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 His Perfect love. We love because we are loved, marked as God’s family by two things: professing Jesus as Lord of our lives, and this perfect love from God, who is love (1John 4:16).
If our love for a spouse, a child, or a friend can overcome our fears, what can this perfect love from God do? It drives out fear (v.18). It doesn’t mask fear or the consequences for our actions, and it doesn’t make us fools by stealing our left-brain logic. As mortal, sinful people we will still be afraid, but that doesn’t mean we’ve lost sight of God’s love for us in Christ. It doesn’t mean we’ve lost touch with the Spirit, who works to comfort us and assure us of our place in God’s family. If we are in Christ, we have the unfailing love of God, and we need not be shaped or defined by our fears ever again.
Imagine a life not marked by insecurity or worrying about what other people will think of us. Imagine stepping up and actually doing those things we feel led to do, knowing that the love we have from God is too great to keep to ourselves. But we don’t have to imagine! We are children of God, and because of His great love for us, we don’t have to fear trials or persecution. We live in the shelter of God’s love and are defined by it.
Written by Barnabas Piper