1 We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. 2 This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.5 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 4:18
New King James Version (NKJV)
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
This new commandment about love was new in so many ways. The old commandments were written rules. Now they were based on our model, Jesus. The old commandments were baed on possible human action. The new commandment was such a high standard that it could only be kept when empowered by God. The old commandments were fear motivated. The new one is love motivated and that’s so much better.
John, the disciple Jesus loved, explains. There is no fear in love. In fact, perfect love casts out fear. If we are still living fear based lives, we have not yet been made perfect in love. In other words, a fear motivated person is an an unsaved person.
How evil are those who preach a fear based gospel; that’s no gospel at all. How sad that the church remains fearful in so many ways. Fear of the government, the future, and the world fills our pews and is spouted from our pulpits. No wonder Jesus the great lover who died to cast out fear, sat overlooking Jerusalem and the church that would one day be and wept.
Love perfectly as a new man, fear not and be blessed.
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Yesterday we remembered the attack on Pearl Harbor. This atrocity ignited the “Greatest Generation” into action. Don’t believe for a moment that those young Americans didn’t know fear. Don’t think they didn’t know loneliness, thousands of miles from home in hot jungles or in freezing fields. They aren’t remembered as great for what they felt, but for what they did in spite of those feelings.
Do you always feel like getting up for work in the morning? Do you always feel like fixing dinner? Did Jesus feel like climbing on a cross or setting aside Divinity for humanity? Why do we insist that love is a feeling? Why do we abandon relationships when we don’t feel “in love” any more?
When we are commanded to love like Jesus, we are not being asked to feel any particular emotion. Emotions can’t be commanded. It is action that’s required. There is good news here. Emotion can follow action. If we act in love, we begin to feel love.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that acts of love will necessarily lead to being loved. We don’t perform acts of love in order to be loved. We do them because He first loved (performed incredible acts of love) on our behalf. If you find yourself frustrated that your life of loving acts hasn’t brought loving acts in response, consider Jesus. You are not hanging from a cross, praying for forgiveness for those whose unloving response to your loving act, is killing you.
Don’t grow weary from the hard work of loving the unloving. It’s what He commands and that’s all we need to know. Love in action is blessing in action.
Love and be blessed.