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Spiritual Growth

Love’s Perfection is Authentic – A Word by Dr. Candice Smithyman

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Love’s Perfection is Authentic
by Dr. Candice Smithyman

In 1 John 4:7-19 (NRSV), the disciple John shares with us,

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“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent His Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love-because He first loved us.”

This was a long passage, but let me break it down. We see that in order for us to be able to reveal our weaknesses, we must first understand how much God loves us in spite of them. We must understand how much He wants to be with us and love us—how much our weaknesses and our masks are covered by the blood of Christ. The only way we can have relationship with Him is to reveal those weaknesses to Him, to reveal those hurts to Him, to reveal those masks to Him, because then we can find freedom in our relationship with Him and freedom in our relationship with others.

When we open our hearts to Him and we share with Him the issues that we have, He says that His perfect love comes into us. When we really understand His love for us, the love that sent His Son to die for us and to take our punishment, then we have no fear of punishment anymore. We should not fear being punished because the punishment came upon Jesus Christ, so we should be able to say, “I am free now. I do not have to worry about covering up my sin because He took my punishment.” This freedom is absolutely remarkable, knowing and believing that we are perfected in love in our relationship with Jesus Christ. We must understand that there is no fear if we have connected with His perfect love. Just as a nursing baby has no fears in the arms of his loving mother, we can rest assured on the perfect love our heavenly Father has for us.
Please know that His perfect love casts out fear. Have no fear of your weaknesses, your hurts and your masks, and of sharing them and revealing them to others. Do not fear, because fear is what keeps us from loving each other. It makes us say, “What will they think of me if I tell them this about me? What if they become aware of my weaknesses or my sins, or my hurts; what if they condemn me?” Quite often, we are afraid to tell others because we are afraid of the punishment that we are going to receive through their condemnation of us. We may think, “What if I reveal something that will break up my relationship with other people? Maybe they will turn away from me in disgust.” That is a lie from the enemy!

When you come forward and you share yourself authentically with another human being, he is not going to condemn you. And if he does, it’s because he condemns himself first. You cannot condemn another person unless you first condemn yourself. Once a person condemns himself, he will project this same condemnation onto others. Freedom comes in knowing that we are righteous in Christ and we know what He has done for us, so we can share ourselves and not fear condemnation from others. Our assurance is Romans 8:1, (NIV) “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” So, your brother and sister should not condemn you. It’s really themselves that they condemn if they condemn you.

Have the strength to be able to reach out and share yourself with another person. Know that you need not fear, because our punishment and condemnation fell on Jesus. His death on the cross is the evidence we have that God loves us. We can love because He first loved us.

Dr. Candice Smithyman
Email: [email protected]
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