February 22. 1 John 4:7-21
Oh I am so happy to get to this section of John's letter because it is my favorite! Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was a young mother living in Germany with two small girls ages 6 and 4, two dogs and a cat. Ray, their Daddy and my husband, was in Kuwait, preparing for the Persian Gulf War. I barely spoke German and was very frightened by all the warnings about terrorism against our American military enclave. Do you know what helped me most? 1 John 4:18. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment." I memorized it in the old King James Version and that verse helped so much.
Let's just look at it. There is no fear in love. That stark phrase helped me realize that when I felt all panicky and scared, that feeling I was feeling was not from God. God is love and there is none of that kind of fear when we are near to Him. So, I recognized the enemy at work whenever I felt fearful and quoted my KJV verse right at that old fear and the enemy that caused it. After I recognized it and told it there was no place for it in me, I recited the next part that said why: perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. I would pray and ask the God of perfect Love to protect me from the torment of the enemy of my soul and to give me His perfect love instead. I prayed that verse a lot because I got attacked by fear a lot, but once I knew the source of the fear and the antidote, I knew what to do and I ran often to my God of perfect Love and nestled close.
Oh read this passage and marvel! God IS love. There is no genuine love apart from Him - that agape kind of sacrificial, giving, other-centered love. We, as His children, have that kind of love poured out on us by Him! How much more, than, should we be willing to love others? He will help us when it's hard. Perfect love knows how to help imperfect humans love better. Let's love each other well and let's always run TO God with our fears, for He is our only safe place.
My verse: 1 John 4:12 "No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us."
My response: I'm noticing this repetition that God lives in us and it's that fact that enables us to love others. His love in us, brought to "full expression" as we pour it out on others. Lord, this is how I want to live! So surrendered that Your love is seen in and through me and people know You better because of it!