Lord, sometimes I see things more from my perspective than Yours. Today, help me to adopt Your perspective for my life.
Read 1 John 4:7-21
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The Bible tells us perfect love casts out fear, and that happens when love and fear meet head-on. If we appropriate God’s love, then a life beyond fear is within our grasp” (Bruce Larson, 1925-2008).
The Trinity is at work to make us into loving people (11-15). Fundamental to God’s big idea is to produce a people who know him and love like him, the source of all love. Those who recognize that God has sent his Son (9) understand the significance of his sacrificial death for sin (10,14) and experience the confirming ministry of the Holy Spirit (13). They cannot but become the conduit of love to others. To remain unloving in the face of such love that “springs from eternity” and comes “streaming through history” (Graham Kendrick) would be like the child you sponsor through an aid organization writing you a poison-pen letter!
The quality of God’s love destroys fear and produces confidence. Why is the removal of fear so significant? It is worth considering what fear does to us, especially in extremity. The great Scottish athlete and missionary Eric Liddell (1902-1945, hero of the Chariots of Fire film) was interned in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. He stood out from a crowd that, through fear, “formed cliques, moralized and acted selfishly [while] Liddell busied himself by helping the elderly, teaching at the camp school Bible classes, arranging games and by teaching science to the children, who referred to him as Uncle Eric.” Fear turns us inward, promoting self-obsession and even self-pity. Confidence in God’s love frees us from judgment and frees us to love.
Love is expected and even commanded, and becomes a test of authentic discipleship. We survey the history of the church, strewn with petty divisions and entrenched ill-feeling, with great sadness. What is missing? Is it lack of appreciation of the extent of God’s love? Has a failure to grasp the magnitude of our need minimized the costliness of Christ’s accomplishment? Or is there lurking fear that keeps us imprisoned?
Praise Father, Son and Holy Spirit for the divine love initiative which eradicates fear. What difference does that make for you?
Heavenly Father, I long to fully embrace Your love so that I can banish fear from my life and live lovingly towards others.
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