The love of Christ is often misunderstood by the way I see myself and other Christians respond to others. It is very clear when you read John 3:16. The desire to go out each and every day and respond in love to everyone is obviously the heart felt plan, but in actuality, our selfish ambitions reach out through our mouths and grab the necks of those we deem our enemies. We want to squeeze the very life out of them.
Then, in our times of quiet, we realize that our reactions were just opposite of the love God has shown us..."in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Living the life of love comes from knowing that we are loved. This is something I must daily tell myself..."Jesus loves me this I know...for the Bible tells me so..." The simple song I learned as a child speaks volumes to me. God loved me first. He reached out to me when I was His enemy and didn't grab me by the throat, but rather wooed me to himself.
Yet in the walk with Jesus, we come across those who test the love of Christ in us, but should they REALLY test that love? Or, is his love in us so bountiful that we know, if rejected by the world that we can freely give of that overflow of love without straining and gritting our teeth and wishing to be back inside our little homes filled with crosses and Bibles.
John writes that perfect love casts out fear. I suppose one of the greatest fears is fear of rejection. His love casts out that fear. Another fear is failure. His love casts out fear of failure. For many, it is the fear of loneliness. His love warms the most dismal, lonely life and removes all fear.
We think of love as an action, and of course it is. But, it is first His love to us. His love to us is the foundation of all of our hopes and dream and it is imperative that we grasp this important concept that HE LOVES US FIRST.
Can we stand rejection? Yes, because the author of all things LOVES US. Can we stand failure? Yes, because he loves us and has told us that though we fail, we will rise up again.
Since His love casts out fear, then what he has called us to do can be done. It is important to remember though that it is HIS LOVE which puts us in this wonderful position of being fearless. I do not mean to say that we should go out and do what we want, but what I DO mean to say is that HE has to be the direction in our lives. He will always ask us to do something outside of our comfort zone and it is in those times that we need to remember about HIS LOVE removing our fear.
Fear is bondage. Love is freedom.