Perfect Love - David Mitts

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. (1Jn 4:18).
Our objective in our BEST Shabbat mornings is to be empowered to live lives of excellence in all areas of our lives.  To experience excellence, we want to possess our own vessels and allow God to perfect in us the design He has for us.  What I mean by “possess our own vessels” is to take ownership and responsibility or stewardship over the vessel that we have, to maximize the destiny or purpose God has for that vessel.  The vessel includes our bodies, our minds, our emotional self, and everything that the Bible sums up when it speaks of the heart.

Listen to "Perfect Love"
The single, most destructive factor in our being the BEST is fear.  I heard Zig Ziglar once say that fear is an acronym for false evidence appearing real.  If we accept the perspective that fear is fueled by how we think and perceive “reality”, then we can begin to do something proactively about our fear.
The fundamental fear that is at the heart of all people is the fear of extinction, or death.  We fear being killed and respond to that fear in many ways.  Lisa and I attended a memorial service this week for Dave Anderson who died recently.  What is present in a memorial service for a Believer is thankfulness.  We listened to and watch tributes by long-time friends and family and were so touched by the beauty of Dave’s life as experienced through the eyes and heart of those close to him in his life.  His generosity of heart was very evident.  
What wasn’t present, at least to my perceptions was any fear.  It was clear that Dave was loved and had loved deeply and so, there was no fear.  Instead there was love.  This is the power of the Gospel to take death and transform it into love. Let’s look at Hebrews 2:14-15:
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (Heb 2:14-15)
The fear of death is  a bondage.  Like the chains of slavery, it restricts us to living lives serving fear and through that allowing the devil to possess our lives.  BUT it doesn’t have to be that way! Jesus, Yeshua has already died and destroyed the devil and his power of the fear of death.  The word destroyed means to render powerless or useless.  The devil is completely bankrupt and ruined when it comes to the power of death to cause fear in our lives!
Scripturally then, we should have no fear of death.  It has no real power over us but only the illusion of power.  So then, how do we overcome the fear, the “False Evidence Appearing Real”?
Well the beauty of the scriptures is that they never provide a question without also providing the solution.  The key is perception.  We interpret our world through the lens of our beliefs.  We don’t usually call them beliefs though.  We call them reality, what we “know” to be true!
The problem is that our truths, because they are often formed in trying to understand and control sin, as expressed in trauma, tend to not work very well.  The root emotion is fear.  So, then how do we get free?  The Apostle Paul shares this perspective:
For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1Co 13:9-13).
It is partiality that is the problem.  We are “partial” witnesses to our lives.  In the law, the court requires impartial witnesses, those who have no vested interest in the case.  We of course, are highly invested in our own experiences and the desire to not re-experience the negative ones.  We have sometimes, fabricated “understandings” or conclusions about people or life that are just NOT true but because they hold our hearts captive, they act as truth.  We want to be free but something beneath the surface of life holds us back.
This legitimate desire comes through an illegitimate lens of self-preservation, which is rooted in the fear of death.  It is, as Paul describes, a “childish reasoning”.  Then Paul makes a startling statement: it’s about perspective!  We see dimly, but with a hope of face to face.  The perspective, the knowing is partial.  BUT in the time, he calls “then”, comes full knowledge and full transparency.
The problem with this translation, is it gives the impression of some undefined future time which we of course equate with our understanding of eschatology. The reality however is that the “then” is any time love enters the equation.
Love is a person, not a feeling.  The secret of the kingdom is the person of Yeshua.  Partial knowledge is lie based knowledge.  Truth is in Him who is Truth.  He speaks truth into our pain and our lies disappear.   His Love is transformational!   He doesn’t just change us with Truth, He transforms us.  Our being, our essence is new.
As we come to know Him as the source of truth in our lives, fear loses its grip.
Brain research tells us of a world of possibilities that come to those who can see life differently.  This is called epigenetics and it is the reformation of the brain through the use of the eyes of our heart, how we see things with our imagination.
This is called in scripture, the fight of faith.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1Ti 6:12)
Through faith, we lay hold of eternal life, the transformative power of God to enter into our destiny.  This is activated by how we see things in the unseen realm.  Unseen doesn’t mean that it cannot be seen, just that it isn’t.  It is called fighting a fight because it truly is a war.  True spiritual warfare is NOT about fighting demons but about fighting the demonic thoughts in our hearts.  These are the true principalities and powers.  Our essence, our spirit is affected by what we treasure in our hearts as beliefs or conclusions about life.  These historically have been rooted or motivated by fear.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, (2Co 10:3-5)
You see the true battle is on the inside, in our thought life.  It shapes our being and needs to be set free from the chains of fear.  This is done through perfect love, who is a person, Yeshua.  He is the Truth, the Way, and the Life.  His Truth is Love, His Way is Love and His Life is Love.  
Read 1 John
Activation: Now that we have read 1 John, let’s practice acts of righteousness.  You see righteousness is the word used to describe listening to Yeshua and obeying His instructions which can only happen in love.  So, let us pursue love by meditating on Him, inviting Him to speak to us directives about the concerns of or hearts and journal the answers.  A journal is a secret place between you and Him.  Here you can pour out your heart and receive the gentle nudges of His voice. You can trust Him to only lead you to pleasant places. He is our Good Shepherd.  So let’s ask Him:
Jesus come into my secret place, my heart and speak to me directives about this matter:


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