A New Year’s devotion

Love-Fear-Checklist1What if we all arbitrarily decided to operate from the paradigm of love instead of fear in 2016? What would that look like? What would immediately change? In our relationships, our marriages, our churches, our workplace, our politics, our foreign policy…our world in general?

Sound too simplistic? Actually that’s the heart of the problem. When we operate from fear, we don’t see love as the only answer. Surely there must be more to it than love! That’s because we’re still looking at love through the lens of fear. Like Adam, we still see God through this fear-based lens, therefore we still see each other that way, too.

And we empower whatever we believe to be true…whether it’s true or not.

Before I go on, I would recommend that you read my post, “Thoughts about Fear and Love,” if you have not done so already. It will give a helpful foundation to what I’m sharing here.

How would our new love paradigm change how we looked at each other? What if, rather than with suspicion and judgment, we saw everyone as our heavenly Father sees them? What if we actually loved them like He does? (See John 3:16; 15:9; 17:26)

What if we actually loved other believers this way, whether we agreed with their particular doctrine or not? What would the non-believing world around us discover about God? About us? (See John 13:35; 17:23).

Do you think Jesus really meant this? Really?

And speaking of relationships, what if every conflict became a point of self-discovery instead of an occasion for blaming others?

What if rather than seeing God punishing us for wrong-doing—or worse, as rejection—we saw His correction as Him lovingly trying to reveal to us what we’re still missing in our experience in Christ?

What if we all decided that love was the hermeneutical principle by which we interpret all Scripture? What if love was the fruit by which we know whether what we believe about the Bible is true or false; that is, instead basing it on good argumentation? (Matt.7:15-20)

What if we decided that how one loves was the basis of whether one knows God or not? (1 John 4:7-8).

What if our sense of justice was based on restoration rather than retribution (Gal.6:1)? What if rather than punishment we desired relational reunion?

What if we actually turned the other cheek and went the extra mile (Matt.5:38-41), what if we actually loved our enemies and blessed them (Matt.5:43-45)? What if we actually believed that love does no harm to our neighbor (Rom.13:10), what if we actually only returned good for all evil done to us (1 Pet.3:8-9), and what if we actually treated every person exactly the same way we would want to be treated (Luke 6:31)?

What if we actually followed Jesus?

What if we really believed that without love we have nothing at all, no matter what else we may do for Jesus or believe about anything? (1 Cor.13:1-3).

You might be thinking about now, sounds good but how do we do this?  We do this by letting God love us. You see, it all starts there. It’s the fruit of letting Him love us, and to the degree that we receive His love, we learn how to walk in love instead of fear.

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.  19 We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:18-19 NKJV)

So, I ask…what if we actually decided to believe this one thing in 2016? What a wonderful revolution that would ignite! What a wonderful world this would be! Let it start with me. Amen.

I will close with this song by Steffany Gretzinger, “No Fear in Love.” Let it be your prayer for this new year. Don’t just listen to it, marinate in it, letting His love wash over you as you do. And remember…you are SO loved!

No Fear in Love
By Nate Ward II | Steffany Gretzinger
© 2014 Bethel Music Publishing

Stir in me a love that’s deep
A love that’s wide
A love that’s sweet
And help me Lord to never keep it to myself
And if my heart should dimly burn
And if my feet should fail to run
Call my name and I will come right back to You

(‘Cause) there’s no fear in love
There’s no fear in love

I want to stay close to You
It’s really that simple
I want to stay close to You
Just as simple as this song
I want to stay close to You
It’s really that simple
I want to stay close to You
My whole life long

CCLI Song # 7029062

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 36 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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7 Responses to A New Year’s devotion

  1. Lance says:

    Awesome Mel. What a resolution. Happy New year or should we say Happy Love Year! Come on! Yay God!

  2. As my grandmother used to say, “From your lips to God’s ears.” May it be so.

  3. As simple as this song…. What if?

  4. Pingback: Rebuilding our cities in the aftermath of the Zombie Apocalypse | In My Father's House

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