“Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God. God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.” 1 John 4:16-19 (MSG)
If you think back to your childhood, you will remember the “check the box” piece of paper. If a boy liked a girl, he would send a note to a friend, who would give it to another friend, who would then give it to the girl’s friend. Finally, the girl would get the note and check yes if she liked him and no if she didn’t. Although it seems silly to pass the note through so many people, the fear of her not liking him held him back.
Christ died on the cross to bring freedom to our lives. He does not want us to be consumed by fear. When fear is the continual characteristic of our lives, we miss the main point of Christ’s love. When we understand how God loves us, we are able to love others and love life without fear or inhibition. The problem is that we don’t understand the extent of God’s love. We think of a baby in a manager and a Christian cross displayed in our homes. Sometimes, we become so familiar with the symbols that point us to God’s love that we can forget the true meaning. God’s love for you is summed up in Christ taking your place by living a righteous life and sacrificing His life on the cross. The divine exchange when Jesus stood in your place is hard to grasp. But since He laid His life down for you, take up your life and live it for him – free from fear of your circumstances, future, death, life, and judgement. When we grasp the depth and breadth of his love, we can easily take that love and give it away.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.