“There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment.”
When I woke, or more accurately woke for the second time this morning, there was a very clear image of a person, a leader, whose name is known across the Charismatic World, before my eyes. What I saw indicated that they were sturuggling with something you would never expect a Christian leader to struggle with, namely fully living in the experience of this truth: “There is therfore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
I was distressed by the imagery by which this inner struggle was made known to me by the Spirit of God. I will not share all of it, but simply one detail: the fear on the face of this well known leader. Instantly I was reminded of the words quoted above from 1st. John 4 verse 18. I have often felt the full meaning of these words is missed because the context is sometimes forgotten and the verse is taken, wrongly, as a stand alone verse. The context gives this as the meaning: it is our job as the fellowship of believers to perfect one another in the love of God. As part of the body of Christ we are to assure one another by the way we love one another that there is no divine punishment awaiting us when our sins are under the blood of Christ. We are indeed forgiven. Our sins have been removed from us as far as the East is from the West. If a believer is walking in fear of punishment therefore, it means that somehow the fellowship around them is not demonstrating with sufficient strength the saving love of God.
It may surprise you if God were to show you who needs to know that assurance through you this day. The first time I woke up this morning, I read the story in Luke Chapter 7 (verses 36 – 52) of Jesus in Simon the Phraisee’s home. Simon is thinking in his heart that Jesus allowing himself to approached, touched and wetted by the tears of a woman known to be “a sinner” cannot after all be a Prophet, never mind The Porphet for whom all of Israel had been waiting. Have you ever felt what it must have been like for that poor woman to find herself in a tangible atmosphere of disapproving male glances? Had she been wrong to believe she could be forgiven? Had she been wrong to hope that there was indeed a love that could see all and yet not withdraw? No, she had not been wrong, but Jesus knew she needed to be sure. He gives her that assurance twice over: “Your sins are forgiven you….Go in peace.” The unwritten hope is that she left more conscious of the love in Jesus eyes than the judgement in Simon’s eyes.
Jesus was indeed a prophet. He spoke to Simon about what He saw in his heart. He spoke into the woman’s heart too. You maybe think that simply speaking assurance of God’s love into a trembling heart is hardly being very prophetic. It is not very specific: no names, places timings revealed as when, for example, Jesus spoke with the woman at the well in John Chapter 4. He told her she had been married five times and was at that present moment living with someone to whom she was not married as if she was. However, Luke 7 shows us a Jesus who is spot on in Prophecy as much as the Jesus of John 4. Truth that reveals and startles the heart is the “Wow” factor in Prophecy. That revelation of truth does not always require the revelation of names, dates etc. to convince a person God is speaking to them.
Perhaps this day God will nudge you to tell someone something that seems so obvious to you that you will be almost embarrassed to say it and will struggle to do so, especially if they are a leader among God’s people. This day you may have to fight feelings of being foolish, simplistic, because you sense God is asking you to say , “God loves you. He wants you to know you are forigven and to set your heart at peace.” “But surely they know that?” What if they need to see it in the eyes, hear it in the tone of voice that they have longed to see and hear in a fellow believer in the fellowship of the body of Christ, but never have? You could even find yourself being a prophesying to a prophet today, leading a leader into the truth of God. Don’t hold back if God calls you to do just that…though remember to do so in love and humility, giving honour where honour is due.
God bless… and God bless others through you this day. May you help someone to be perfected in the love of God.