I awoke early. As I lay there I found myself suddenly in a vision. I saw my hands open in front of me & sitting on my palms were two figures. On the left hand was a cowering, terrified but raging dark dwarf with whip in hand. In my right hand stood a straight, confident, fully mature man brimming with peace & boldness.
Then I heard the words,
“We know how much God loves us, & we have put our trust in His love. God is love, & all who live in love live in God & God lives in them. As we live in God, our loves grows more perfect. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, & this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” (1 John 4:16-18)
Suddenly I realised what was in my hands. “Perfect love expels all fear”. Perfect doesn’t mean without err or imperfection. The word actually means completeness, maturity, man vs boy (gk: ‘teleios’). The complete, the mature have learnt to own & love their story rather than shame it or meter it out on others. Maturity has taught them to value courage and freedom that is not controlled by externals. That courage has taken them to encounters with truth, where they discover they are honourable because they have value. An encounter with the love of God always affirms their value, a value that NEVER changes because of theirs or others actions and choices.
I was mesmerised, there the mature man boldly stood on my right hand! Unintimidated. Fully Alive in Truth.
Reminds me of the one who wore the name, Jesus / Yeshua (Hebrew). He was fully God & fully man. Love looks like something & it looked like His life & death. He knew that to love was to be vulnerable & to be vulnerabie is not weak but the most accurate measure of courage.
I glanced across & there stood the twisted, raging dwarf. This dwarf has a name. It is a greek word, ‘Kalazo’ & it means dwarf, penal infliction, torment. (1 John 4:18) Fear will always twist & fear will always reach for the intimidating whip of threat & punishment to protect & justify its cowardly position. Fear loves to mull us. Mull our identity. Mull our destiny & suffocate us with shame.
I have noticed that when fear wafts its foul stench over me, & I listen & agree to it, I take on a posture mentally, emotionally, spiritually & outwardly which is more liken to a dwarf. Ever felt that? Squashed, small, twisted by externals, not really yourself, not at all free or bold?
In contrast there is nothing more appealing, more dangerous than one who has met & dwells with perfect love. So the question is, do we “know how much God loves us, & we have put our trust in His love?” (1 John 4:16)
This is a question of relationship. Relationships require hanging out together – doing life..living it with others. Such a strange word in this day & age when disconnect, blame & hiding are king. Yet it is the deep pain of our dwarfed souls. But doing life with others, requires of us choice, intentionally & a belief that we are worthy of love, connection & belonging. It is a commitment to ourselves & to courage.
When it is settled in us that HIS love never fails, that he never rejects us or is horrified at our mortal states, but remains bullet proof in His position FOR me, completely safe & utterly predictable towards me, I am living in who He is! So what’s settled for you? What are you living in?
God has ONLY ONE posture towards me – love. His love is a journey that concludes with a feast. He offers more. Always. Feasts in the Bible are a picture of hospitality, significant joyous moments, & covenant. All of these remain ways today in our society of reflecting love.
When we celebrate friends coming over for a meal, when a child has a Bar Mitzvar, or an 18th & of course at a reception on the wedding day, we enjoy a feast. This is a relational thing. When a feast is reduced to function, we call it a business meeting.
This is who God is. He is into feasts! And his feasts have banners over us declaring I love YOU (Song of Song 2). He loves to celebrate us. He loves us from our fearful dwarf ways, right into a mature fully aged bold, free bride of love!
This is His ONLY posture towards you. Towards me.
I have a choice. Agree with & dress myself with love, or agree with & dress myself with fear. One diminishes me, the other builds up. The way of love, is not for the faint hearted. It is not for a dwarf mentality. Love expels this. Either we feed from the left hand or the right.
Maturity is expensive, but so is a dwarf mentality & life!
People perfected in love, not perfected in fear, are some of the most attractive, dangerous, world changes I know. They are completely safe, completely predictable. Infused with the power of love itself, for they have settled in it & it in them! (1 John 4:16) They have only one face. The face of Jesus. And from this face they live, breathe & speak of one thing, love.
Love’s name is Jesus, God incarnate.
So what am I being perfected in?
Love or punishment? The perfect love called Jesus or the dark dwarf of fear?
It’s in your hands.