I John 4:18 (AMP) There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].
The full maturity of love—how long do you have to be saved before you can reach the full maturity of love? In America someone decided that when you turn 18 you are mature enough to be called an adult. Even though I thought I was mature at 18, I was not even close. Maturity usually comes with age, but I don’t think age is a factor when it comes to reaching the full maturity of love that First John 4:18 is talking about. You don’t have to be saved for 18 years, 30 years, or even 40 years to experience God’s perfect love—the perfect loves that drives out every trace of fear.
My son Gus asked Jesus into his heart only three months ago, but he seems to have already reached full maturity in God’s love. He is nowhere near mature in any other area. He still gets food all over the floor at dinner, cries when he loses at the game Memory, and has to have his clothes picked out for him, but this perfect love of God thing he’s got down pat and because of that he’s fearless.
There is no fear in God’s perfect love and all Gus knows of God’s love is that it is perfect so he knows no fear. He has never had to experience anything that would cause him to doubt God’s love for him. Could it be the older we get and the more we see and experience, the less mature in God’s love we become? We go through trials, loss, and hurt, and that view of God’s perfect love that we used to have seems like an illusion instead of reality. So we go back to being immature and welcome fear and worry into our lives.
If we want to be fearless, if we want to expel every trace of terror, every thought of punishment, we have to get back to that place that perhaps we haven’t been to since we were 4 years old like Gus. That place where God’s love is perfect, no matter what. That place where we are so aware of God’s love for us that nothing else matters. That place where we don’t worry about anything, because we trust that everything is being taken care of for us.
We’ve all been through things we never thought we’d have to go through, but the truth is, God’s love for us never changed, it’s always been the same, it’s always been perfect. The only thing that changed was our perception of it.
I am not at the perfect place of full maturity in God’s love and I know that because I still deal with thoughts of worry and fear, but I’m so thankful to know that it’s not something I have to wait until I’m a certain spiritual age to achieve. My son Gus has taught me that the maturity I want doesn’t come with age at all. I want to be fearless like he is, so my prayer today is that the Lord would show me how to get back to that place where my view of God’s love was perfect, because His love still is perfect, it always has been perfect, and it always will be perfect!