Love is set apart from all other things in life. It’s what sorts out spiritual truth from untruth. If it were a tank, love would hold water. Thought of in this way, love is impervious to ‘leaks’ in the form of fear. It simply is perfect.
Fear is love’s natural opposite. When we have a situation occur in our lives, a situation that requires an emotional response, we vacillate between the two extremes of love and fear, picking either somewhere in the middle or somewhere either end of that great mental, emotional and spiritual continuum. If we select the middle-ground and we reach an area we could call ‘indifference.’ Pick either side of the continuum, and there is a stark world of difference in our response.
If we respond to the situation in fear, we experience what we so often see in the world. Fear, by nature, is gripping and paralysing. It causes us to fight and we don’t understand why. Or we might run very quickly the other way. We’re just scared. Fear is unfortunately the default mindset of humanity. It’s the scourge of our insufficient natures. We want to either fight or run; another set of extremes. Fear’s affects are dramatic too. If “love is not perfected in me, I will have a constant sense of condemnation and… fearfulness. I will spend the whole of my life in this world in condemnation. This is guilt, and a hell of a life, with no joy, peace or love or happiness. Why are we so naturally driven to fear? Perhaps it’s because we see it and experience it more often than we do real love. Perhaps we are naturally geared towards it?
To make things better and simpler there is only one thing, or better put, only one being we should fear, and that is God. If that were the case, and we were to only fear God, love would be much easier. Love would then become our default response when we’re placed in emotional turmoil. Love is freeing.
Love is counter-cultural to human beings. We’ve got no idea how to love and give to others in a sustainable way. It comes from God, and from his spirit within us. It is his power to inspire, and his power to grow a good thing, a good deed, a good character.
So, what is love in the context with which I speak? Selwyn Hughes illustrates the epitome of love in this statement:
“When you gaze upon the face of someone you have hurt and you see hurt but no rejection in that look you have just had a glimpse of the face of Jesus Christ!”
And he was; utterly rejected by the world, his own followers, and even God the father himself temporarily. With every reason to turn his back in fear and judgment, he faced the rejection with an open heart and returned the hate and fear he experienced, with love. He was hurt and could have rejected the people who hurt him; he chose to love instead. We’re capable of this response too. Very much so.
For us you must realise, there is power in love. When we’re rejected and hurt, the last thing we might think of doing is to courageously love back. An important fact is it is not only possible, but it is power. This is power beyond our own making. It could only be God’s because it is miraculous. That’s what makes it so wonderful. We should fear no one but God. If we fear other things we lose this miraculous supernatural, divine, heavenly power.
If you want to taste true life and true freedom of spirit, try loving back when you don’t have to; when it’s your choice. You may just see a strange response in the person you’re relating with. A response that says, ‘I have just felt the power of God!’
© Steve J. Wickham, 2008. All rights reserved Worldwide.
 Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Life in Christ, Studies in 1 John, five volumes in one (Crossway Books, Illinois, 2002), p. 547.
 Selwyn Hughes, Spoken from the Heart: Powerful talks and addresses that have blessed and inspired audiences around the world, (CWR, Waverley Abbey House, Surrey, England, 2005), p. 114.