Based on several of the comments to my last post, quite a few of us share the struggle to believe and receive the love of God. And that is a problem. A big problem! Maybe the only problem left to a born-again believer. When we bottleneck the flow of God’s love into our hearts, we walk through this life with a love deficit. And that deficit appears to be behind more than a few character issues regularly addressed in disciples of Jesus Christ.
A Love Deficit Leads to Fear
What if these issues of character stem from the deficit of God’s love and are likewise solved in the fullness of it? Let’s look at fear as a prime example. We are not to be fearful. Period. Yet there is SO MUCH fear everywhere, including (and maybe especially) the wider Christendom. Why?
There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].
1 John 4:18 AMP
I’m afraid because there are obstacles in my heart to receiving God’s love, and it is only the “complete, full-grown” love that drives out fear (and every wretched pitfall it entails). Is fear the symptom of my love deficit?
Hard to Belong with a Love Deficit in Your Heart
I’ve always thought that if anything could rival fear as a prime motivator, it would be the drive to belong. We all want to belong, to find a place where we are known AND loved. We’ll do just about anything to just about anyone to have that. But in salvation, Love bought us.
You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own].
1 Corinthians 6:20 AMP
We belong to Jesus now. He bought us and we’ll never be alone and unloved again. But if I don’t fight to believe that, then the Love that bought me is bottlenecked and so is the deep sense of belonging it carries. Instead of being dead to the world and its promises of approval and affection and a place to belong, my love deficit leaves me wide open to the siren song of every monster out there.
A Life without a Love Deficit
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:37-39 NKJV
What persuaded Paul that “neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God”? Was it being filled to the brim with God’s love? This verse is awfully bold to be a guess on Paul’s part. I think Paul spoke the truth of his heart as completely as he’d personally experienced the love of God.
We don’t know if Paul started with a love deficit in his relationship with the Lord, but we know that he didn’t end with one. He was bold and fearless in his love for Christ and the full Gospel. Paul’s letters diagnose the many obstacles to being filled with God’s love. And we see in Paul’s life the power and impact of living in the fullness of Christ and the love of the Father.
Love, Love, and More Love
You know how the first century church was full of signs and wonders and a kind of fierceness largely absent today? What if their secret was being filled to the brim with Love? Without a love deficit, I imagine that every day is a lit fuse racing to the dynamite, ready to go BOOM.
It’s not courage that I need; it’s more Love. I don’t need boldness; I need more Love. Comfort isn’t the answer to my suffering; I just need more Love. Stockpiling knowledge won’t mend my wounded heart; I need more Love. I think that my love deficit is the only true deficit I have—everything else is just symptomatic of that great need to be filled with God’s love. God’s perfect Love in His perfect Son is the perfect Solution to what ails me.
Yes, indeed Jennifer! It is perfect love that casts out fear. Love must be perfect. And perfect love is not one way love. Perfect love is whole – reciprocal, complete, consummated, and alive with passion. It is not perfect love to objectively accept that God loves me in Jesus. We must receive that as an inward passion, live in it, embrace it, take possession, and let it fill our hearts to abundance. We must open up our hearts, and accept it as our own. To accept ourself as the beloved of God. This love, the perfect love with cast out… Read more »
Will cast, not with. Sorry for the typo 🙂
Marsela, you have such a gift for expressing truth both succinctly and beautifully! This comment is a bridge to my follow up post with “perfect love is not one way love.” How did you know I was going there next?! Thank you, thank you for this!
Jennifer, I may not have known where you were going next, but The Holy Spirit knew ?. Looking forward to your next post!
Thank you, Jen. I needed that.❤️❤️
Thank you, Jen. I needed that.❤️❤️
So did I, Wanda, and I’m so grateful that the Spirit gave it to me. Love you!
Jennifer this is beautiful.
Thank you, Chris. The simplicity of the Spirit takes my breath away. I’m so glad that you see it, too!