Devotional Thought for Today – 02/22/2021

Christian, let God’s distinguishing love to you be a motive to you to fear Him greatly. He has put His fear in your heart, and may not have given that blessing to your neighbor, perhaps not to your husband, your wife, your child, or your parent. Oh, what an obligation should this thought lay upon your heart to greatly fear the Lord! Remember also that this fear of the Lord is His treasure, a choice jewel, given only to favorites, and to those who are greatly beloved. —John Bunyan

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love 1 John 4:18

1 John 4

Some of you who have followed my posts for a while may remember me saying the 1 John is my favorite book of the bible.  That is because of 1 John 1:3-4 One of the key verses (at least for me) in understanding fellowship with God and other believers. You can read a little about it in Part V of my series called Biblical Contentment.

Today, however, John is speaking on one main theme with two applications. The theme is LOVE, and he says to apply it by testing all the spirits v.1-6, that is be sure of all who claim to speak in Christ’s name for they may act all-loving and such but can be the devil in lamb’s clothing. Secondly, v.7-21, God is Love so we are to Love as God loves us.

Our text found towards the end of this part in the meat of the application v.11-19,  Beloved if God so loved us…because he first loved us. John in v.17 mentions that this Love is made perfect in us through the union with Christ. That this union makes our eternal status secure. 

Thus our text, There is no fear in love; a perfect union with Christ leaves no room for fear of our eternal state because but perfect love casteth out fear: Why because fear hath torment yet a TRUE BELIEVER has been fully and completely forgiven of their sins, and has nothing to fear. It is only the fake, the lukewarm, the Laodicean who wants to live in both worlds that have to fear because He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 

Is your relationship with God complete, or maybe better put mature today? Do you still have doubts or fears about your eternal state? We can daily FEAR GOD, that is as Bunyan said,  fear of the Lord is His treasure be in awe of His majesty, to have reverence for His mercy and thankfulness for His Grace. All the while not Fearing God’s judgment or wrath. 

TODAY’S PRAYER

Heavenly Father, I pray that I would let the words of truth found in 1 John 4:18 settle in my heart. There are times in my life when I am very fearful. I know that when I am fearing things in life, I am not exhibiting trust in You. I pray that You would surround me in Your perfect love, where fear has no room and must be forced out of my mind and spirit. As I ponder Your love, I pray that I would experience the peace the passes understanding, whatever situation of life I am in help me to seek you first. And as I come to a deeper realization of the depth of Your amazing love for me, may I be used by You to love as I am loved. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Adapted from:  https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/1-John/4/18

 


“What is the eternal state of the believer?”

“How can I know for sure that I will go to heaven when I die?”

More than a Feeling

by John MacArthur / Wednesday, January 8, 2020

More than a Feeling

GOD IS LOVE

On a cross-country domestic airliner some time ago, I plugged in the earphones and began to listen to the music program. I was amazed at how much of the music dealt with love. At the time I was preaching through 1 John 4, so the subject of love was very much on my mind. I couldn’t help noticing how glib and shallow most of the lyrics were. “She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah)” is a classic by worldly standards. But few people would argue that its lyrics are truly profound.

I began to realize how easily our culture trivializes love by sentimentalizing it. The love we hear about in popular songs is almost always portrayed as a feeling—usually involving unfulfilled desire. Most love songs describe love as a longing, a passion, a craving that is never quite satisfied, a set of expectations that are never met. Unfortunately, that sort of love is devoid of any ultimate meaning. It is actually a tragic reflection of human lostness.

As I thought about it, I realized something else: Most love songs not only reduce love to an emotion, but they also make it an involuntary one. People “fall” in love. They get swept off their feet by love. They can’t help themselves. They go crazy for love. One song laments, “I’m hooked on a feeling,” while another confesses, “I think I’m going out of my head.”

It may seem a nice romantic sentiment to characterize love as uncontrollable passion, but those who think carefully about it will realize that such “love” is both selfish and irrational. It is far from the biblical concept of love. Love, according to Scripture, is not a helpless sensation of desire. Rather, it is a purposeful act of self-giving. The one who genuinely loves is deliberately devoted to the one loved. True love arises from the will—not from blind emotion. Consider, for example, this description of love from the pen of the apostle Paul:

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4–7)

That kind of love cannot possibly be an emotion that ebbs and flows involuntarily. It is not a mere feeling. All the attributes of love Paul lists involve the mind and volition. In other words, the love he describes is a thoughtful, willing commitment. Also, notice that genuine love “does not seek its own.” That means if I truly love, I’m concerned not with having my desires fulfilled, but with seeking the best for whomever is the object of my love.

So the mark of true love is not unbridled desire or wild passion; it is a giving of oneself. Jesus Himself underscored this when He told His disciples, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). If love is a giving of oneself, then the greatest love is shown by laying down one’s very life. And of course, such love was perfectly modeled and embodied by Christ.

The apostle John is often referred to as “the apostle of love” because he wrote so much on the subject. He was fascinated by it, overwhelmed with the reality that he was loved by God. He often referred to himself in his gospel as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:20; cf. 13:2320:221:7).

John echoed his most famous words (John 3:16) when he wrote in his first epistle that “God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:8–9). John understood that knowing true love is inescapably bound to knowing the one true God. When he declares that “God is love,” he is explaining that it lies at the very heart of God’s character. And we’ll consider that next time.

(Adapted from The God Who Loves)