There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:8
There’s an old song I barely recall hearing years ago, and for the record, that song was from way before my time- it’s called “You Always Hurt the One You Love”.
You always hurt the one you love
The one you shouldn’t hurt at all
You always take the sweetest rose
And crush it till the petals fall
While this might be true in old songs, and all too often in matters of romance, I rather doubt that’s quite what John had in mind when he wrote this sentence, after all, 1 John 4 is the New Testament’s greatest chapter about love.
If we are to be made perfect in love as God views love, we will always put other people ahead of ourselves, and if I’m getting the old song’s meaning right, it is dealing with people who put themselves first. If we are completely honest with ourselves, isn’t that the natural human condition?
Love. I love pizza. I love baseball. I love lazy summer days. I love walking through the woods at sunup. I love my children. I love my wife. I love America and apple pie…
Gee whiz, we seem to love just about everything, so why is there such a disconnect in matters of the heart? I love you dearest, but if you say that to me again, there are going to be consequences!
Jesus showed us an entirely different kind of love, as He set the example for us to follow. The thing that makes His love so vastly different from our human approach to the subject is that the godly love He showed us has nothing at all to do with how we feel at any given moment; rather, it is all about a commitment to put others ahead of ourselves.
Think of it this way: Jesus set aside the glories of Heaven and came down to this earth as a man on a mission. He undertook a mission that involved hassle, opposition, persecution, heartache and a horrible death because He was absolutely committed to providing us a way to be redeemed, so that we might not only live, but live eternally with Him.
When He was nailed to that terrible cross, whose interests were His priority: His own, or yours?
Jesus was made perfect in love and because of that, He had no fear of death or punishment, and because of what He did, you and I need not fear either, for there is no punishment this world can give us that matters a hill of beans compared to the glories of Heaven that await us.
I don’t know about you, but I find a great deal of encouragement in that fact.