I’ve been deeply moved by the verse 1 John 4:18 — “There is NO FEAR in love, but perfect love casts out fear!” I couldn’t grasp the meaning of this verse for so long — but other versions of this verse helped to reveal just how important GRASPING the love of the Father actually is, BEFORE we completely trust Him WITHOUT fear. The NLT says it this way “There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is therefore not yet made perfect in love.” I could insert anything here — fear of punishment, abandonment, of what people might think IF they really knew everything, of judgment, of failure and so on! BUT…the Father truly does know us inside and out — every thought, every sin —intimately — and yet His love for us never ends, and is without boundaries. Oh, how He loves us — how magnificent His plans are for us too! If we could thoroughly accept, recognize, interpret, and perceive this monumental and foundational concept, we would live without fear in our own lives and also be able to love others with immeasurable grace as well. So, let’s dive into the permanent and immovable TRUTH of how His unconditional and sacrificial LOVE NEVER FAILS — and when confidently comprehended, we bear abundant mature fruit that overflows into the lives of those around us!
The First Promise we have is the promise of His continual presence!
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. DO NOT be terrified; DO NOT not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you WHEREVER you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
“The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; HE WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU nor forsake you. DO NOT be afraid; DO NOT be discouraged!” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
“Be strong and courageous. DO NOT be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you; HE WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Are you familiar with His presence? Are you intimately acquainted with the voice of your Merciful Father? Do you recognize the tender ways He speaks to you? Are you accustomed to His grace-laced, lavish, and loving ways? Can you tell the difference between HIM and the lies the Accuser and the World whispers into your ear? Do you KNOW, that you know — what HE calls you and the unchanging, unshakable, irrevocable identity-words He speaks over your precious life? Maybe someone needs to hear and receive these Truths today!
THIS is your reality! THIS is WHO you are:
Chosen. Loved. Delighted In. Wonderfully Made. Rescued. Delivered. Saved. Freed. Forgiven. Redeemed. New. Transformed. Healed. Whole. Recreated. Restored. Adored. Adopted. Daughter. Friend. Victorious. Valuable. Irreplaceable. Significant. Blessed. Covered. Secure. Overcomer. Conqueror. Purpose-Filled. Wanted. Seen. Known. Understood. Pursued. Worth It.
“Mightier than the waves of the sea is His LOVE for you!” (Psalm 93:4)
“His banner over you is LOVE!” (Song of Solomon 2:4)
“I pray that you grasp how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His LOVE is for YOU!” (Ephesians 3:18)
“You are so LOVED!” (John 3:16)
“I LOVED you at your darkest!” (Romans 5:8)
Hitting home the importance of LOVE, Jesus talks at length about how LOVE is the greatest of all commandments (Matt 22 and John 13). And that you can have all the faith in the world, but without love, you have NOTHING! (1 Corinthians 13:2).
The cross defines the kind of love we are called to live in — unoffended, grace-rich, covered, judgment-free, loyal love!
“JUST AS I have loved you, you should love one another.” (John 13:34)
So, I encourage you today to fully believe AND receive for yourself that God loves you NO MATTER WHAT! From a secure foundation in the great gift of His love, we can then go out and love others well AND bring the Truth of God’s loving, merciful, all-transformative-healing Word to someone today!
Love protects, hopes, and perseveres. Love HEALS!
The backbone of love is the cross — the foundation of how we love is Jesus and therefore GRACE — the vehicle by which we love others is receiving that grace first and foremost for ourselves, before we can ever extend it to another.
LOVE DOES — love is an action and it is stronger than death! Love DOES stay afloat when things get hard, love DOES encourage when a harsh word may seem like the right thing, love DOES point to Jesus, love DOES wait patiently when things don’t happen on my timetable, love DOES believe the Truth of God’s word over how I am feeling, love DOES die to self, love DOES forgive and then keeps no record of wrongs, love DOES empty its burdens and injustices onto the Cross, love DOES open the pathway for healing. Love loves for the sake of loving and expects nothing in return. LOVE always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love celebrates, delights, and rejoices in being FOR one another! Love is agenda-free, because it’s deeply rooted in the Holy Spirit’s flawless timing that surpassingly exceeds and trumps our own. Love knows that if a human could change another human, Jesus never needed to come. Love knows that people are not projects that need to be completed and perfected in our way/in our time. Love rests upon both grace and Truth. Love knows the power God has to redeem and transform! Love opens the door for the Holy Spirit to come invade, heal, free, and restore!
“LOVE NEVER FAILS!” (1 Cor 13:8).
So how do we apply this immeasurable love to others? Especially when they have hurt us? In this day and age —when “cancelled” seems like the go-to response — when being offended, division, criticism and lack of empathy for the other side seems most natural — the Lord clearly lays out for us another way!
If rejection, shame, abandonment and judgment could deeply impact someones life or hold the ability to change a heart — I assume this is how Jesus would have behaved! YET, it’s His MERCY that overcame it all — it’s His KINDNESS that draws people to repentance, it’s His COMPASSION that defeated both sin and death — and it’s His LOVE that overcame it all — for you and for me! So you tell me — which scenario above leaves a powerful & lasting shift? GRACE is the answer — it is an act of obedience that we are called to so many times in scripture so that we can become a conduit for the Holy Spirit, not an obstacle of personal offense. Grace-centered relationships helped radically change my life in a season I can closely compare to the pits of hell. Grace IS what transforms the heart, not the words of the accuser, enabler or condemner. Grace should be our Golden Standard, given endlessly with much encouragement.
'Hate. It has caused a lot of problems in this world, but it has not solved one yet.” (Maya Angelou)
Very few people get judged into life change. Many people get loved into it.
Jesus came to rescue and recover sinners. His ministry was one of a true shepherd. And OH the transformative power of a merciful response when revenge, unforgiveness, hatred and abandonment is appropriate. Remarkable mercy! Never underestimate the power a seed of mercy has when planted into a broken heart!
“Let’s not be talking more about people’s failures than rejoicing in God’s victories!” (Psalm 48:10)
Praying you too make an active decision to make what HE did for you, what HE offers you, what HE Promises you, and HIS Truth GREATER than anything that’s been done to you, spoken over you, or the sum of your failures (or someone else’s failures).
Y'all, Jesus CHANGED EVERYTHING! This week, I want to position our hearts to meditate on these Foundational Truths:
MERCY WON!!! — “But when the kindness and love of our Savior appeared, He SAVED us -- not because of righteous things we had done, but because of HIS MERCY!” (Titus 3:4-5)
For YOU, He “loosened the pangs of death” (Acts 2:24), “cancelled the record of debt that stood against you” (Colossians 2:14), “disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities” (Colossians 2:15) — His grace OVERCAME it all — for you and for me! His love is stronger than death, His Mercy is what MADE A WAY, His kindness is what leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4) —let’s celebrate Jesus — knowing the law/judgement could NEVER do what grace could! (Romans 8:3)
Inserting love and Jesus into any situation, changes EVERYTHING! He IS actively pursuing and working on each one of us—in His timing, in His way — making ALL things NEW, transforming and sanctifying us — some slower than others, but He is! He is Sovereign and trust me He is using it ALL for good for those that love Him. He longs for us to live unoffended by one another’s faults, and to use them as springboards that launch us into loving-action instead!! “LOVE DOES” — love is not passive; it actively makes a way for the Holy Spirit to show up and invade!!
You can’t out sin the cross, otherwise He’d still be in the grave; but since the bill has been paid in full -- His sacrifice made grace possible and available to ALL, for ALL situations and circumstances.
Remember — it’s “God’s KINDNESS that leads us to repentance” (Romans 2:4). Not judgement, casting on more shame or condemnation — which is just supporting and spreading hell’s mission. Love DOES NOT gossip, ambulance-chase, judge, heap on more shame, cause more drama, divide, intimidate, mock, disparage, bully, or instill fear. Love is NOT self-seeking. It is NOT reactive. It is NOT based on emotions or feelings. It is NOT self-righteous. It is NOT anxious. It is NOT passive. It is NOT insecure. It is NOT selfish. It is NOT envious. It does NOT enable.
May we each heart-check ourselves and ask the Lord to help us love others the way He loves us! Unconditional. Unchanging. Unending. Love endures ALL things and bears all things (1 Cor 13:7) — truly leading to LIFE, healing, wholeness, abundance, and joy!
Have you experienced this type of love? If so…have you then shown others this type of love? For — “FREELY you have received, so go and freely give!” (Matthew 10:8)
“Above ALL else, LOVE EACH OTHER DEEPLY, because LOVE COVERS a multitude of sins!” (1 Peter 4:8) “Hatred stirs up conflict, but LOVE COVERS over all wrongs.” (Proverbs 10:12) To cover is to forgive. To cover is not the same thing as to “cover-up” — that is enabling and suggests you should hope for amnesia to be able to move on from hardship or conflict. NO! God’s love is clear and complete and calls us to follow His template in how we are to love others: it calls a wrong a wrong, but it doesn’t ask them to pay for it! Love has the miraculous ability to forgive and “keep no records of wrongs” because it is anchored in the magnificent truth of what Jesus did for US on the cross! His love covered every one of our sins — so who are we to withhold that type of love from another person who has hurt us, done the wrong thing or screwed up?
“Love forgives ALL things, bears ALL things, endures ALL things!” (1 Cor 13:7)
“ALL THINGS”! Wow y’all, this 1 Corinthians 13:7 type of love is pretty powerful AND pretty clear! It’s the type of love we saw demonstrated, displayed and modeled for us by our own Savior and Rescuer — Jesus. Undeserving, unconditional, unable to earn, mercy-rich, compassionate, grace-filled, understanding, unending, non-condemning. His love becomes our greatest defense! There must be a reason for this blueprint He so generously gave us. There must be some massive heart-result it has on others to promote this effective model of love for healing, change and transformation. We just need to apply it to how we love others. In all seriousness, we need to start seeing people that screw up as heart-sick and hurting, and to stop seeing them as a problem or something to avoid, reject, gossip about or label.
Love conquered the World! Not judgment. Mercy triumphed over death. Not condemnation. Grace IS what OVERCAME it all in order to transform hearts and lives. Not abandonment. Forgiveness made a way for all. Not pride or self-righteousness.
Jesus’ love is patient with us — it never utters the phase: “UGH! Are we still dealing with THIS?” And our love shouldn’t either. The Lord has SO much for us IN the waiting though, in the choosing of forgiveness— in the middle of the mess and storm and resentments—we just can’t get tripped up and bogged down in being offended while we wait. God’s way is set up for our protection and it’s set up to bless us! Waring in prayer and interceding on behalf of your lost and hurting friend or family member IS what He calls us to do. Living unoffended and loving others defended by the covering of the Cross is the key! Scripture says those that look to the Lord for how to live are “radiant”, “refreshed”, “wise”, “joyful” (all from Psalm 19)! Who has been around those types of people and you just cannot get enough? It’s contagious!! “I’ll have what she’s having” — so to speak! Oh the radiant beauty that covers a woman who chooses to surrender her understanding to the Lord and walk in obedience to Him!
“It is to one’s glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11)
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2).
"Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15) .
“A friend loves at ALL times!” (Proverbs 17:17)
“We love because He FIRST loved us!” (1 John 4:19).
“Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times? “No, Jesus replied, not seven times, but 70 x 7.” (Matthew 18:21-22)
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
“Encourage one another and build each other up!” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 5:14)
”It’s because we have each received radical spiritual generosity that we can be radically generous with those in need!” (Tim Keller)
Put your grace-lenses on gals— for love keeps no record of wrong. It didn’t keep a record of wrong for you, why would we keep it for others? No, love doesn’t give you a lobotomy, but God says He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west — why can’t we give that same gift to others?
If we earned our own love/grace/forgiveness, there would be no Gospel — no deep need for Him. Withholding love/grace/forgiveness from others can show our lack of complete understanding of what He accomplished for you. I say this not to condemn, but to convict. Convict why we apply our own rules to our broken situations and choose to withhold forgiveness from others — that’s where we then bear the fruit of bondage — one of strongholds that rip apart our own souls and further steal way our ability to heal. If you have been hurt or betrayed, it’s ok to grieve and feel the pain that’s been inflicted upon you. I pray you would seek out wise counsel and potentially Christian counseling to help sort through and sift out all your wounded emotions and from where they stem. Forgiving someone does not mean saying what happened was ok! The opposite, in fact! Forgiveness of others equals freedom for you — the beginning of victory, healing and rebuilding in your own life! It’s the best gift you can give to yourself! Praying we are each women who surrender what feels right in the flesh and follow God’s life-giving path instead: “Make allowances for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” (Col 3:13) The offense you are holding on to today has already been covered — died for and paid in full — fully forgiven. Don’t fight a losing battle. But instead, press into the Lord for hope, victory, restoration and in how to supernaturally forgive and move forward bondage-free.
So…go love the heck out of someone this week! Trust me, it will be way more impactful FOR BOTH OF YOU than walking in bitterness, judgement, hatred or unforgiveness!
Praying this vibrant LOVE NEVER FAILS Necklace will serve as a tactile prompting and visible reminder to you or to anyone you gift this to, of just how loved you really are, what loves TRULY entails, and the importance of loving ourselves and others well! And you know, sometimes in this life, we each have to be carried to the feet of Jesus — to the Healer —for fixing, restoration and recovery. Grace-donor meets grace-recipient. Live unoffended and love defended by the covering of the cross! Go be a tool of grace in the hands of our gracious Savior today!! Bring the truth of God’s loving, merciful, all-transformative-healing Word to them today! Show your friend just where to go.
Click HERE to shop our Love Never Fails Heart Necklace!