Not perfected in love


In my previous post, I quoted part of 1 John 4:18 which says,

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

1 John 4:18 (NASB)

The hard lesson learned from this is that when I manifest fear, it is because I am not perfected in love. And as circumstances have proved, I manifest fear way more than I manifest love. I manifest fear, a lot of fear.

One of the things we learn from Genesis 3 is that we have an amazing propensity to blame others for our failures, but at the end of the day, I have no-one to blame but myself.

I want to defend myself and argue that I am more loving than fearful, but I know that is not true. I want to say others have caused me to fear, but that is also not true.

In reflecting on this, I find that much of my fear is fueled by pride. I want to be seen as doing the right thing. I want to be known as the one who is dependable. My fear of disappointing others has on many occasions made me rigid and unloving. But even admission is prevarication on my part, I am side stepping the heart of the issue.

As the verse states, the root cause of my fear is that I have not tapped into the love of God. I have not fully accepted that God’s love is unconditional and there is nothing I can do escape that love.

Paul writes;

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38–39 (NASB)

Earlier in Chapter 8 of Romans Paul identifies the difference between one who responds in love and one who responds in fear.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

Romans 8:15 (NASB)

The bottom line is that when I respond in fear, I have not fully (or perhaps even partially) accepted my adoption by God.

When I act out of fear, I hurt the loving Father that adopted me and I hurt the people around me.

I am thankful for the words of Jesus in John 8, when he told the woman caught in sin, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”