God’s Love Perfected
Dr. Jay Worth Allen
If fear grips our heart, it’s because God’s love is not perfected in us. We’re not totally assured that God loves us.
So we create speculative notions: “I’m not really sure that this situation is gonna work out for good, it may destroy me. This may be the end of my road. This may be all she wrote. I don’t see any way out.” And why do we do this? Because God’s love is not perfected in us.
If God’s love were perfected in us, if we really knew God loved us, so totally loved us, that whatever may happen to us can only happen because God allows it to happen, we wouldn’t be concerned with any situation we find ourselves in. If we’re truly confident that God loves us supremely, then we’d never worry about what happens to us.
Oh, the confidence that comes when we know that God loves us. When His love is perfected in us, we can accept what comes without fear. Because, “there is no fear in love, perfect love casts out all fear. He that fears experiences this torment. And he that fears is not yet made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:18-19).
Beware of teaching that would make us the initiator and God the respondent. This is a very popular teaching within many churches today:
“We should initiate, so God can respond. We need to fast, so God can respond to our fasting. We need to praise the Lord, so the Lord can respond to our praises and bless us. We need to give to God so God can respond and give back to us.” And we make man the initiator and God the respondent. But in reality, God is the initiator and we’re the respondents. We respond to Him, because He first responded to us.
We praise the Lord, not to bring a blessing upon our life. No! We praise Him because the blessings of God are so abundant and bountiful on our life already, that we can’t handle it. “I love You, Lord. I praise You and thank You, oh Lord.” And, with that response, we’re responding to the grace of God that we’ve experienced.
God has initiated His love and His grace towards us, and we love Him because He first loved us. We’re responding to His love. But, we must know God to respond to Him. We must know the love of God. We must know the grace of God. We must know the goodness of God. We must know God’s love, grace and goodness in Christ, and then, when we know, we respond. God is the initiator and we’re the respondents.
God loved us first, and we respond to that love. “We love Him because He first loved us.” But it’s hard to respond to something we’re not aware of.
One lovely phrase we’re prone to say is, “I love God”, which sounds beautiful. We all should be saying that. We all should be able to say that. And I’m not putting down saying that. But, “if a man says, I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20).
We can’t say “I love God,” and hate any of our brothers. That’s an inconsistency. That’s a lie. Because, “this commandment we have from him, that he who loves God love his brother also” (1 John 4:21).
Jesus was questioned by a lawyer as to what was the greatest commandment. And Jesus said, “Thou shall love the Lord thy God with your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And the second is like unto the first: you shall love your neighbor as thyself, and on these two are all the law and commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). Jesus immediately tied together the love for our neighbor with our love for God.
When the rich young ruler came to Jesus and knelt at his feet and said, “Good Master, what good thing must I do to inherit age-abiding life?” And Jesus said, “Why do you call Me good? There is only one good, and that is, God. But keep the commandments.”
But, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God. You shall not steal. You shall not commit adultery . . . and so forth.”
So the young man said, “Lord, all these I’ve kept from my youth up, what do I lack?”
Well, Jesus said, “If you’re going to be perfect, then go sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor and follow me. Then you’ll have great treasures in heaven . . . And he went away sorrowful because he had great riches.” (Mark 10; Luke 18).
If that young man had said, “Lord, I have kept all these commandments from my youth up. I haven’t stolen. I haven’t committed adultery, and I haven’t lied against my neighbor, and so forth. I’ve kept all those from my youth. But tell me, what is the real commandment?” Jesus would have said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
This is where most of us find ourselves. We’re very wealthy. We have more than we can eat, more than we can wear, more than we need. And our neighbors are in rags and starving, but we’re not willing to help them. What would Jesus say to that? “You guys don’t love your neighbor as yourself.” So we respond, “Oh, but Lord, I love God and I keep all the commandments.” But when it comes down to a practical example, no, we’re not keeping the commandment. In truth, it isn’t what we say, it’s our deeds that express the reality of our experience, of our salvation, of our assurance of God’s love, of God’s love perfected.
God’s Love Perfected
Published: 8 August 2011 on Freed In Christ! blogsite.
Published: 21 July 2011 in FAITH Column of The County Journal.
© 1998-2012 dr. jay & miss diana ministries, inc. all rights reserved
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© 2012 dr. jay & miss diana
all rights reserved