There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection]. (1 John 4:18, Amplified)
No man has at any time [yet] seen God. But if we love one another, God abides (lives and remains) in us and His love (that love which is essentially His) is brought to completion (to its full maturity, runs its full course, is perfected) in us! (1 John 4:12, Amplified)
The Bible tells us that the Body of Christ is to grow up in love. The two scriptures here speak of reaching the full maturity of love, of being perfected in love. We are to reach the place where we love perfectly. That sometimes sounds so hard or impossible. What is our hope of ever loving like that?
We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19, NIV)
…the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Romans 5:5, KJV)
…Christ in you, the hope of glory… (Colossians 1:27, KJV)
Our hope of loving like that is that we were and are first perfectly loved. Our hope of loving like that is that His very love is in our hearts now by the Holy Spirit. Our hope of loving like that is that Love Himself has come to dwell within us and we simply allow Him to run His full course in us and through us.
We love because He first loved us. I don’t focus so much on loving others. I don’t try and strive to love others. I focus on that fact that He perfectly loves me. I press to know, believe and receive His love for me. And the more of His love that is allowed to run through me, the more fear and selfishness is driven out and the more my love for others is perfected.
Jesus said, “If you love Me, you’ll obey me.” My focus is not on obeying. My focus is on loving and I find that His love in me, for me and through me, empowers me to obey.
When you hear those words perfected love, don’t stress about loving perfectly, meditate on the fact that you are perfectly loved. And you will love perfectly.