October 24, 2014
READ: 1 John 4:7-21
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear (v.18).
The Grant Study has followed the lives of more than 250 university graduates for 70 years to learn what makes people happy. It revealed that positive emotions make us more vulnerable than negative ones—in part because they expose us to rejection and heartbreak. One man had received a box of 100 loving letters from his patients when he retired from practising medicine. Eight years later he proudly showed the box to a researcher and began to cry, “I don’t know what you’re going to make of this, but I’ve never read [them].”
“Being loved” is hard for many of us. We need courage to open ourselves to receive love from others. Because we—and they—are sinful, misunderstanding and rejection is always a possibility. It’s tempting to retreat into our castle and pull up the drawbridge. There we’ll be safe from the dangers of heartbreak, but we’ll also be distanced from the pleasures of love—how it feels to be fully known and still embraced.
What if true love is found in the very place we most deserve to be rejected? John explains, “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love . . . that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 John 4:9-10). God’s love expels fear as light scatters darkness, for “If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love” (v.18).
The One who knows you best, loves you most. You can trust the God who hung on the cross for you. When you are secure in the grip of His love, you can open yourself to others. “We love each other because he loved us first” (v.19).
365-day plan› Acts 10:24-48
Read Ephesians 3:14-21 to learn what happens when we begin to grasp the infinite wonder of Jesus’ love.
How might God’s loving embrace enable you to accept the risk of rejection? With whom do you need to take that risk today?