I had a vision this morning. I saw my hands open & sitting on my palms where two figures. On the left hand was a cowering, terrified raging 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,
“So we have come to know & to believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, & whoever abides in love abides in God, & God abides in us.
By this is love perfected in us..There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.
For fear has to do with punishment, & whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
(1 John 4:16-18)
Suddenly I realised what was in my hands.
“Perfect love casts out fear” says 1 John. Perfect means completeness, full age, man (gk: ‘teleios’). The complete, full aged man perfect in character, courageous because he is not controlled by externals, totally free, intent on only one thing, love.
Reminds me of the one who wore the name, Jesus / Yeshua (Hebrew). He was God. God is love (1 John 4:16). His life & death punctuated this point. He now sits at the right hand of God the Father.
Fear on the other hand, is linked with punishment here. The word is ‘kalazo’. It means dwarf, curtailed, penal infliction, torment.
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, retarded, not really yourself, not at all free or bold?
There is nothing more appealing, more dangerous than one who has met & dwells with this perfect love. So the question is, have we “come to know & to believe the love that God has for us?” (1 John 4:16)
This is a question of relationship. Relationships require abiding. Abiding is staying, enduring, settling. They require of us choice. And it is in this atmosphere of choice that love grows.
When it is settled in us that HIS love never fails, never runs out, is for me, totally safe, always constant, & utterly predictable towards me, I am abiding. So what’s settled for you? What are you abiding in?
God has only one posture towards me – love. His love is a journey that concludes with a feast. Feasts in the Scriptures mark hospitality, significant joyous moments, & marriage. All of these remain ways today that reflect 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, because His banner over us is love (Song of Song 2). He loves to celebrate us. He loves us from our slavery or dwarf ways, right into a mature fully aged bold, free bride of love!
This is His only posture towards me.
I, on the other hand, have a choice. Agree with & dress myself with the posture of love, or agree with & dress myself with the posture of 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 casts this out. Dwarfs & mature men can not dwell together in the one body. It is either the left hand or the right.
Maturity is expensive, but then again so is a dwarf mentality & life!
Men perfected in love, not perfected in doing, are some of the most impressive, 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, Jesus, God incarnate.
So what am I being perfected in? What are you?
Love or punishment? The perfect man Jesus or the dwarf of fear?
It’s in your hands.