Whose “perfect love” is the Apostle John talking about here? Is it our love toward God, or God’s love toward us? It must be God’s love toward us! I know God wants us to get a full revelation of this love – this perfect love with which he loves us!
I am just finishing a very successful trip to East Africa…as I write this message, I am preparing to head to Narok to work among the Masaai people for a few days, then on to Nairobi for a few days before returning to the United States. One thing that impressed me so much this trip was once again how much the Word of God affects the way I live and move in East Africa. When I arrive in Nairobi, I normally stay in what American’s would consider a tenement apartment structure – a small two bedroom one bath apartment with no working running water. The streets below bustle from before sun-up to well after sun-down. Below the apartment are bars and clubs – that play loud music and have men and women drinking well into the night. During the day, there are open-market “hotels” or restaurants that fix chapatti, fry fish, make Ugali, fry Mandazi, roast corn, and grill chicken and beef – sometimes even goat.
In the midst of the street, people will burn their trash – and the smells of the area are to say the least pungent. I have been told that Donna and I are the only white people who have stayed in the complex ever – although I am quite sure maybe that isn’t so true. When I’m ready to travel to our home in Western Kenya, I board a public (although quite modern) bus to make the 10 hour drive from Nairobi to Kakamega. It is not uncommon for us to be the only white people on the bus – although many times we have ridden with other missionaries or other expatriates. When I arrive in Kakamega, it is usually nearly dark – and we drive the 30 minute drive to our mission in the bush.
Once there, our compound is open to the rest of the world…there is a barb-wired fence that surrounds the compound, but for the most part there are numerous breaks in the wire, and a number of places where people can pass to walk through our compound. We do not have running water in our home – but must hire a local young man to haul water from the well (about 1km away) to a tank that sits on top of an unused cement water tank to the side of our house. The water from the well is safe to drink, but the tank is not clean, so we cannot drink the water through the tap. In many people’s minds, our living conditions are unsafe, and even dangerous. Some in our area have built fences around their compounds with rock, brick, cement, or thorny bushes. Some put guards at their Iron gates to keep people from entering. (We do have a police sub-station on our property, but they do not “guard” our entrance – they use it!)
In our daily lives, I have never felt fear of any kind being in East Africa. I believe the reason for this is simple – I know how much God loves me! And there is no fear in love! I know what God has called us to do, and I know that while our living conditions are not as “safe” as we may feel in the United States, that love in us keeps us safe! The key to living free from fear is to have the revelation of God’s perfect love in your life! People who are constantly living in fear cannot conquer that fear, regardless of what they try. They may try to “think positively” all the time – yet deep within, fear still remains. You can tell you how “safe” you are in your compound – but if fear is in you, it will still manifest as you cannot reason yourself out of fear either! No...fear must be cast out. And we cannot cast it out any other way than knowing the Love of God.
There is nothing more powerful than the love of God. When we get this revelation, nothing we face becomes impossible. We are no longer “afraid” of doing something. We can step out of our boats of complacency and begin to walk by faith! Today I am praying for you – that you will get a revelation of how much God loves you. He has called you by your name – and called you to be a success in everything you do!