Perfect Love Drives Out Fear

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.

The perfect love that casts out fear is not my love for God, it’s God’s love for me. // @to_the_heights Click To Tweet

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.


  • Reply
    January 8, 2020 at 6:54 am

    This is beautiful, and just what I needed to hear today. Thank you.

  • Reply
    January 8, 2020 at 7:12 am

    The link to the usccb is always a day behind. I assume there’s a copyright reason that you can’t post the readings, but at least correct the link! Thank you,

    • Reply
      jenna Guizar
      January 9, 2020 at 1:37 pm

      Hi Kena,

      Yes, that USCCB is giving us some headaches! Please pray they resolve their issues quickly!

  • Reply
    January 8, 2020 at 9:02 am

    Yes, beautiful. I was just journaling before reading your reflection some similar sentiments! 💗

  • Reply
    Susan Platt
    January 8, 2020 at 9:22 am

    Beautiful! Thank you so much for this. Just what I needed today. God bless!

  • Reply
    Taylor C
    January 8, 2020 at 9:46 am

    This spoke “perfectly” to my heart today! Thank you for the beautiful honesty!

  • Reply
    January 8, 2020 at 10:11 am

    Oh my goodness YES! Yes, this is me! 100% Perfectionist. This reflection is so very much ME. I very definitely needed to hear “my ability to live in freedom and courage does not depend on my own efforts or achievements; rather, it comes from the One Who loves me perfectly” Thank you!!

  • Reply
    January 8, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    I attended a farewell mass this past Monday the epiphany for our priest who’s leaving us after 10 years. In the moment after receiving communion as I prayed I felt as if Jesus was hugging me. This overwhelming peace fell over me I couldn’t help but cry. I felt as if I heard “Receive my love” over and over again. I did nothing but except this embrace and embraced him back by just being held. I’m still feeling this love it’s getting me through lil trials of the day. He knows exactly what to do and when. I’m falling in Love with him even more than I thought I was trying to.

  • Reply
    Cathy Sam
    January 9, 2020 at 2:00 am

    It was really a blessing to read this at the right time! Thanking God and credits to the wonderful page I found!

    • Reply
      Lindsay Durrenberger
      January 9, 2020 at 10:05 pm

      Praise the Lord!

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