Day Five: Love in Flesh and Blood

1 John 4:16-19 (ESV)
16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.

“He does not say, as we might expect, that we look away from ourselves and simply trust in God’s all-powerful, all-conquering love. No. He says that ‘just as he is, so are we within this world’. What does that mean? He means, it seems, that if God revealed himself in the world by turning his love into flesh and blood, when we do the same we should realize that we are ‘completing’ God’s love. What will be operating through us will be the true love of the true God. When that happens, there is no need to fear any longer. Love that has been made complete in this way leaves no room for fear. Once you learn to give yourself to others as God gave himself to us, there is nothing to be afraid of any more, just a completed circle of love.” (NT Wright, The Early Christian Letters for Everyone)

Love and fear are polar opposites. Even more so, we see in 1 John 4:18 that perfect love casts out fear. “Perfect love” does not mean a love that does the “right thing;” rather, as NT Wright explains, it is love that responds to Jesus’ love by giving itself in the exact same way. It might be more aptly translated as “completed love.”

– Are there opportunities in your life to drive out fears, by stepping into “completed love” expressed to others around you?

Let’s worship to the song “Not Afraid” (click here), performed by Jesus Culture.

– NB