The Power of Love to Change You
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.
(1 John 4:18-19 ESV)
When I talk about the freedom people have in Christ, people get very scared. I can see it in their faces and hear it in their breathing, they visibly tense up.
Last week I said "God does not care if you make A's" and I could see the wheels spinning in the parents' minds. "If he says that, my son will not study. He will fail out of college, and be a bum living in a van down by the river."
Sometimes I reassure people that God loves them even when they are sinning. Again, some angrily respond: "If you tell them that, they will just go off into all kinds of immorality and addiction."
I get sad for people who respond that way. I just don't think they have ever been loved.
It is hard to feel loved. Most of us have a very difficult time believing that someone actually loves us free from all attempts to earn their affection. Personally, I was married over a decade before I truly believed my wife loved me. It was hard for me to believe I was truly loved despite all the ugly sin lying in my heart.
When I finally believed she loved me that did not make me want to go out and sleep with other women. It did not make me want to gain weight. It did not make me want to take up filthy habits that she would find repulsive. It did not make me want to spend more time at work or with friends. I wanted to be with her. She was the only one who loved me.
Love works that way. It gets inside you and makes you want to make the person who loves you happy. It makes you confident and secure. It makes you want to be with the one who loves you.
For that reason we stress the love of God. If you believe he really loves you, you will want to be with him. You will want to worship him. You will want to talk to him. You will want to love him. You will choose paths that lead you to him, not away from him.
Anyone who has been loved knows that already. Those who have been forgiven much, love much and want to be like Jesus. Those who have been forgiven little, love little. They need laws and fear to keep them in line.
Do not settle for laws and fear. Push deeper into Christ, and find perfect love. Let that love clean you up and change you.