Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Perfect Love...

     A week ago as I lay in bed talking to God, I mentioned that I was fearful and saddened by the kind of world my girls are growing up in. It was just a passing comment I made to Him before I turned in for the night. The following morning I was awakened by a song. It was playing so loudly in my mind that I actually thought someone had the radio on! No radio...just these lyrics from the Newsboys, "And when the oceans rage I don't have to be afraid. Because I know that You love me. Your love never fails." God woke me with a song in answer to my fears. It's continued to be a sweet reminder as I've watched the world react to the terrorist attacks and the refugee crisis.

     One of the saddest things I've seen is how fear grabs a hold of the body of Christ and tries to render it useless. Brothers and sisters that were once supporters of welcoming refugees into America, are suddenly afraid to. Not only are they afraid but they are filling all of social media with their fears. The hate I've seen between Christians of differing opinions on this issue has by far caused more destruction than the Paris suicide bombers. I can't help but think of how we break God's heart when we allow the devil to divide us instead of prayerfully considering the other side's viewpoints through the light of God's Word. The world needs the church as a whole to be united in love. We have the answer the world is looking for, Christ. They can't see Him because our arguing has gotten in the way!

     We like to think that there are two sides to this problem of whether or not to take in refugees. There isn't. There is only one side. There is only one option and that option is called perfect love. 1John 4:18 says, "There is no fear(terror) in love; but perfect (full grown) love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment (torment) and the one who fears is not perfected (completed) in love."  So what is this perfect love anyway? How do I get some so I can be rid of fear?

     1 John 4:16 says, "We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."  God is perfect love. When we truly believe the love God has for us and we make His love our dwelling place, then we have that same  perfect love that casts out all fear living inside of us! For years I have looked only at verse 18 and wondered how I could have perfect love. I had never really read the whole passage in context until now. It starts with us truly believing the love God has for us and then making His love our home...that's what a dwelling place is. It's a place where you can kick up your feet and rest.

      When we are resting in His perfect love we aren't afraid. When His perfect love is dwelling in us, we don't see Syrian refugees as potential terrorists. We see them as "the least of these." Jesus said in Matthew 25:40 that one day the King will say," Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Think about this for a moment...these words came from the mouth of Jesus who went to the cross not just for all of those He knew would receive Him, but for Judas who He knew would betray him. Jesus was an expert when it came to "the least of these"! Jesus was perfect love. He gave His life knowing there would be those who would reject Him, some of whom would literally nail Him to a cross. So why won't we follow His example and take in refugees knowing that some may be terrorists? I believe it's because we've forgotten who we belong to and lost sight of the security that we have when we are living in His perfect love.

     Romans 8:38-39 says it the best, " And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow- not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below- indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."  This is that perfect love that casts out all fear. This is the love that we can make our home in. It's all we need...and that' the thing. The world is scared to death right now because it doesn't know God's perfect love. We do, so we shouldn't be afraid. We have all we need right here for ourselves and for welcoming refugees. We have God. We have perfect love and nothing can separate us from that love. We are secure.

     Security...perhaps that's why I was fearful and saddened by the world  my girls are growing up in. I had misplaced my security. When we place our security in God and we remember that His love never fails, we won't give a second thought to taking care of "the least of these".  Instead we will love without counting the cost.

   " Perfect love casts out fear. The one who fears is not perfected in love." I don't know about you, but I want to be perfected in love.




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