Perfectly Loved

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.

Perfect Love

Imagine a life without fear. Imagine looking at your checkbook, your bank account, your 401K and not being afraid. Imagine looking at your sick child and not being afraid. Imagine looking death in the face and not being afraid. Imagine looking at your family, your enemies, your co-workers, the team you manage, with all their faults and not being afraid. It is possible to look at situations and people in your life, and even when everything looks wrong, to not be afraid. How? By taking the high way of love.

In 1 John 4:18 we are told that “there is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear” (KJV). It goes on to say that “he that feareth is not made perfect in love” (KJV). That word ‘perfect’ seems to usually be a game-ender for most. They think, “If it takes perfection, I’m out.” But let’s take a closer look at what this passage says and what this word ‘perfect’ means.

First of all, it says that we are made perfect in love. Not that we make ourselves perfect in love, but that we are made that way.

Second, the Greek word translated as ‘perfect’ here carries this meaning: to complete; to accomplish; to consumate (in character); consecrate; finish, fulfill, (make) perfect (Strong’s).

The same word is used in 1 John 4:12 and the Amplified Bible renders it this way, “brought to completion (to its full maturity, runs its full course, is perfected) in us!” This entire scripture in the Amplified reads,

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!

From 1 John 4:18 we see this is a work that is done in us by Love Himself. Did you ever sing these words? “You are the Potter. I am the clay. Mold me and make me. This is what I pray” (song:Change My Heart Oh God). This song is taken from Isaiah 64:8 among other scriptures. 

Now, I want to share a verse with you that has so helped me in this process. It is Hebrews 13:20-21 in the Amplified Bible.

Now may the God of peace… strengthen (complete, perfect) and make you what you ought to be and equip you with everything good that you may carry out His will; [while He Himself] works in you and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ (the Messiah)…

Who completes, perfects, makes you what you ought to be? It’s not you. But, God will if you yield yourself to Him. Become clay in His hands. Don’t resist Love or doing things His way. Yield to Him and His ways and He and His love will be perfected in you.

Here is a simple prayer I pray, “Lord, make me what I ought to be to that person.” Whether it is my husband, my co-worker, my team member, my enemy. What happens when I pray this? He changes me. I become what love ought to be to them. And I have found time after time that they respond to that love and they are changed. One step at a time as we take this highway,  His love is being perfected in us.