“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” Perfect love. Who can have perfect love, but God Himself? His love is perfect. The Bible says in another place (Rom 5.5), “The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit”. But do we really understand the love of God?
True, the antidote to fear is faith. But faith in what? Faith in God who is love. Calvary love. ‘He loved me and gave Himself for me,” says Paul the apostle in Gal 2.20. The LORD says in Jer 31.3, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” He is speaking to Israel. But is God’s love reserved for Israel alone? John 3.16 says, “For God SO loved the world!”. And because He so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son (the Lord Jesus Christ) to die on the cross of Calvary for our sins – to die in our place, so that we should not perish in our sins. He not only died for us (the whole world, 1 John 2.2), but He gave us everlasting life. 1 John 5.12 says, “He who has the Son (the Lord Jesus Christ) has eternal life.”
Now I have Christ dwelling in me (Rom 8.9b); I am a born-again child of God. And yet I do not experience this love of Christ! Why? It’s all in the head; it’s Bible knowledge. But I don’t experience it in the heart. Why? I need revelation; God’s light has to shine in me. It is easy to parrot these truths, these Bible verses, without understanding them. Perfect love, unfailing love, inseparable love, everlasting love – that is the love of Christ. “Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down his life for his friends.” John 15.13. Christ laid down His life for His enemies. I was once an enemy to Christ and God; I didn’t want God to come into my life. I was living far away from God; I was lost in this perishing world. Christ came into my life when I was in my late 30s (oh, how many wasted years!) and He came in the most astonishing way. It was as if I had come out of total darkness into God’s marvellous light; I was like the blind man in John 9. I know what it is to come out of bondage into God’s glorious liberty. There was ‘first love’; there was ‘joy unspeakable and full of glory’. But then, everything faded away. Love grew cold. Many trials, many troubles followed; and often I doubted the love of Christ.
I am trying to understand 1 John 4.18. “Perfect love casts out fear”. Meditate on the love of God that passes all understanding! It’s true that He not only gave Himself for me, He has come to dwell in me through the Holy Spirit, and His love is poured out into my heart…but the question is why am I not experiencing that love? Many times I have tasted His love; and even now I know that I am in His loving hands and He will never let me go. But many times I think, ‘Lord, why are you allowing all these troubles in my life? Why should I sorrow all day long? Why are You hiding Yourself from me? Why is my heart so cold towards you?”
I have not been exercising faith. It is a ‘fight of faith’. In the midst of the darkness, the Lord should be a light to me, Micah 7.8. Not looking at the circumstances that I am passing through, not considering the feelings that I experience, but simply, firmly, standing upon the Word of God. You have given me a new heart and a new spirit; You have given me new life; I am a new creation. Yes, the old life, the old nature is still there; the old self still works in me; the flesh tries to pull me down. But by faith I lay hold of Christ, I cleave to Him, I strengthen myself in His Word, I ponder over His love, I cry out for revelation. And this is what the Lord tells me: “I have given you a heart to love me; you are a partaker of the divine nature (divine love). By faith, irrespective of your wavering and sinking feelings, hold on to the truth – that you have a heart to love Me – and though you may feel cold and indifferent, open your mouth and affirm your love for Me; worship Me! I will never let you go (Heb 13.5b). Believe in Me, in My love, a love that is deeper than a mother’s love – I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands (Isa 49.15. I am in you, and you are in Me, John 14.20. Hold on to that truth. There is no need to fear. My love is stronger than death, Songs 8.6; many waters cannot quench it. Do you believe it? Believe in My love! Get out of the confines of your Self (self-preservation, self-love, self-will) and cast yourself on to Me! Underneath are the everlasting arms! You are in My bosom, close to My heart, where there is no safer place to be! My all-conquering love (Rom 8.37) will conquer all your fears, your worries, your doubts; just rest yourself in Me! As a child cast yourself on Me!”