As someone who is engaged in a likely lifelong battle with perfectionism, 1 John 4:18 tends to shake me up a bit.
“Perfect love drives out fear.”
Seems simple enough. If I want to live fearlessly, I just need to love God perfectly. Great! Where’s my checklist? Just tell me how to do it and I’ll get it done, on time, and probably with an accompanying spreadsheet and slideshow.
But despite my best efforts, I do not love God perfectly.
I strive and I fail. I cling to my own comforts and desires and I stay afraid. I grow frustrated with myself, but perhaps even more frustrated with John. Why, John, do you promise us a life without fear on the condition that we do the impossible this side of Heaven—love God absolutely perfectly?
And then it hits me. The perfect love that casts out fear is not my love for God, it’s God’s love for me. John has already answered my question earlier in the First Reading when he proclaims that God is love (see 1 John 4:16). God is the perfect love that casts out fear.
My ability to live in freedom and courage does not depend on my own efforts or achievements; rather, it comes solely from the One Who loves me perfectly.
Today, I’m going to strive in a different way. Not to check off a list titled “steps to loving God perfectly” but to open my heart more to perfect Love Himself. I’m going to invite Him into my biggest fears. I’m going to allow Him to make me brave by the overwhelming impact of His irrevocable love.
I’m going to choose to love Him more by letting Him love me in all the ways that only He can love me.
Join me in prayer today, sister. Let us try to do this together.
Olivia Spears lives in Kentucky where sweet tea and bourbon flow like milk and honey. She is the Blog Manager for Blessed is She and works from home as an editor and social media manager. She likes to binge novels and Netflix while raising her children and laughing with her husband. She is a contributing author to our children's devotional prayer book called Rise Up. You can find out more about her here.