Love Caulking for Our Hearts

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“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18, NKJV).

Yesterday we talked about Jesus’ provision to make us fearless. Today we are going to talk about the “how.” If He came to the earth to set us free from slavery to fear, how does He actually bring about that freedom in our lives?

To understand this, let’s first look at the second sentence in our Scripture for today. “He who fears has not been made perfect in love.” The converse of that statement would be, “He who does not fear has been made perfect in love.” We want to know how to get to the point this verse is describing – where we don’t fear. Therefore, for our purposes, we need to understand what Holy Spirit means by the expression “being made perfect in love.” Once we’ve been made perfect in love, we won’t fear anymore.

Taking a look at the Greek, “perfect” in this passage is teleios. The meaning of teleios is not “morally flawless.” So God is not saying, “When you finally attain to perfection and have it all together, then you’ll be really living in freedom from fear.” Nope. That would not be the correct understanding of this verse. What teleios actually means is “complete” or “mature.” Continuing to chew on our verse, “to be made perfect in love” means to be made mature in love.

In other words, we need to walk through a maturation process in order to move fully into fearlessness. The more seasoned and mature we become as Christians, the more markedly free from fear our lives will be.

Still, how? How does this maturation process work?

This is where the first half of the verse comes in. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.” The process of maturing means that, in a gradual, progressive manner, over a long period of time, Jesus’ perfect love casts out all our fears. One by one, He meticulously eradicates them from our lives, until they are completely gone.

I used to have a bit of a struggle with this Scripture. I’d read it and ask, “What’s defective in me? If God loves me perfectly, why do I still have fears? Why haven’t I been made perfect in love?” I felt like the verse was pointing out my deficiencies in overcoming fear. Now, I know better. I have come to understand that these words from Jesus’ heart are not a measuring stick. Rather, they are a beckoning to go deeper into His heart. They are an invitation to grow up in Him by sinking my roots down ever more profoundly into His love.

The more we walk with Jesus, the more we get to know Him. The more time we spend with Him, the more poignantly we come to experience His love. His relentless, tender, exquisite devotion becomes like a caulking for our soul. Little by little, it slips down into every last crack. Slowly, steadily, every vulnerability gets healed and filled in by the substance of His presence. The revelation of His heart systematically obliterates torment and replaces it with the sealant of perfect love.

By the time He is done effecting this breathtaking work in our lives, fear can no longer seep in. It simply can no longer find a way inside of us. Perfect love has cast it entirely away. We have, at last, been made perfect in love.

Jesus purchased fearlessness for us on the cross. Let’s respond to His invitation to mature into it as He loves on us. Every new morning that dawns, let’s drink deeply of His nearness. Every new day of our lives, let’s walk intimately with Him. With every new breath that we breathe, let’s appropriate more than yesterday what is already ours.

“Set me as a seal upon your heart…” (Song 8:6a, NKJV).

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” (Ps. 34:4, NIV).

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Can you observe a pattern of His love gradually removing more and more fear from your life?

 

22 thoughts on “Love Caulking for Our Hearts

  1. Oh yes. I think what this process you describe does is properly form our priorities and attention on that which is most important. And I like how you finished the reflection; it is an ongoing process. None of us would have the nerve to suggest we are perfect in God’s eyes, so each new day brings a fresh chance to sink ourselves deeper in His embrace and shake off whatever it is that we can truly do without.

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  2. What an insightful post, Jennifer! From the perspective of a long-time believer, I can heartily agree with your imagery of God’s love like caulking, seeping into the cracks of our souls. It HAS been a slow process (and continues still!), but looking back over the decades, I do see progress. Just recently my husband underwent a liver transplant. He’s recovering very well. Those long hours I sat in the waiting room, my spirit was completely at peace. It was not something I had to work at, it was just THERE. A lot of cracks had been filled over the years just as you’ve described. With you I want to appropriate even more than yesterday what is already ours!

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    1. Nancy, your visit and wonderful comment just blessed my spirit with sweet joy. I rejoice with you for the precious work Holy Spirit has done in you over these years! How priceless is that peace He has worked into the fabric of who you are! Thank you so much for sharing that. And AMEN as we press on ever deeper into the knowledge of Him and appropriating what He bought for us! ❤ 🙂

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  3. Good Morning Sister! I include a prayer request with my comment today. First off, let me tell you what joy I experienced as I read your study into the Greek. Much as I love to do that myself, I have entered the ‘very’ busy time of my year. From mid-May until the end of August I return to my old job of painter (hence my appreciation of your title for this entry!). I will work 5 to 6 days a week until late August, which cuts significantly into my study time. Please be praying that I honor God in this endeavor and thank Him for the provision it provides.
    In response to your question: One place I have seen God move in me gradually has to do with this same job. When I started in 2004, I was faced with a 60 mile round-trip commute. I was very worried about this in view of the vast amounts of snow that falls here and my fear of driving in the winter conditions. I determined, in my own wisdom, that the best thing to do was to purchase a 4 wheel drive truck, telling myself I would then be secure. I did buy it, and the next two winters were extremely mild. As I prayed about this over those two years, Father God told me that to be rid of my fear, get rid of the truck and trust Him. I did, and my fear of winter driving went away. Our ever-faithful God gave me a big lesson in His perfect love.
    Blessings to you Jennifer,
    Chuck
    PS: I now drive a Subaru Impreza!

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    1. As usual, your comment brings a smile to my face and joy to my spirit, my brother! Thank you so much for sharing that testimony of His goodness and faithfulness. How wonderful that you were obedient to His instruction!

      I’m praying right now in agreement for His answer to your prayer request. I’m also praying that He would bless you with very special times of intimate communion with Him on the job, as you lift up your heart to Him in the midst of your activities 🙂

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  4. Maturity does lead to a greater understanding of the love that resides in our hearts. Sometimes life teaches us lessons, which are a small part of God’s plans for each of us.

    Thanks for sharing your insight on this special verse. May God continue to bless you and all that you write Jennifer.

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  5. This perhaps one of the most beautiful things that I ever read about dealing with our fears. You have really gotten to the heart of the matter; the closer we are to Jesus, the further removed we are from our fears. I must come back and read this again. Thank you for sharing this!

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  6. Our hearts are always in need of healing, because as humans our hearts are easily broken. Scripture reminds us to encourage one another, and bind one another up. Words matter in that they can lift someone up. Your words matter. And you just never know who might need that word on any given day. God’s Holy Spirit moves us, but we never know exactly where that wind of love will blow. Like dandelion seeds that disperse in every direction, so our words flow out, and the breath of God sends them forward.

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    1. Wow, what a beautiful word picture! That really resonated strongly with my spirit. I would love to use that in sharing with other people in the future about how His Spirit moves in conjunction with the seed of His Word. Thank you so much, Linda!

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