It’s audio devo day! Although I shared this post last year, I had a strong nudge from Holy Spirit to make an audio version for you all for today, to go along with the series I’ve been doing on Fridays on overcoming fear for six weeks now. If you haven’t checked one of these out, I think you’ll be blessed by them! May God’s peace minister to you as you listen here:
(Encouraged by this? Know someone else that needs to hear this today? You can either share today’s blog link with them, or look up my Feeding on Jesus podcast for sharing and subscribing. You’ll find it at these links on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and most other podcast platforms, with episodes identical to these audio devos!)
Do you long to get to the point this verse is describing – where we don’t fear anything at all? I know I do. So, then, we need to understand what Holy Spirit means by this expression “being made perfect in love.” This is where our glorious road lies, to becoming fear-free.
“Perfect?” you may say. “Nobody is perfect! I’ll never get there!” Be comforted, my friend. Let’s dig deeper, and find the very real hope this passage offers. Taking a look at the original language, “perfect” here is the Greek word teleios. To our great relief, the meaning of teleios is not “morally faultless.”
So here is what God is not saying: “When you finally attain to flawlessness and have it all together, then you’ll be really living in freedom from fear.” Whew! How liberating to know that He is not demanding perfection from us, as the means to liberty!
What, then, does teleios signify? Its beautiful meaning is “complete” or “mature.” We can conclude then, that “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 our 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 comprehensively eliminated its place in our lives. 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).
Can you observe a pattern of His love gradually removing more and more fear from your life?