Monday, January 5, 2015

fear and perfect love - and being taught and led by the Spirit

There is no fear in love.
But perfect love drives out fear,
because fear has to do with punishment.
The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 
1 john 4:18 NIV

I have never really understood this verse until recently.  I never understood a LOT of scripture the way that I do now.  And I freely confess all the understanding I have now (and any I came by in the past – though I didn’t realize at the time - and any I come by in the future) is entirely God gifted.  It is only by His Grace that I am able to write and to share.   It is only what He feeds me of His own hand that I am able to then pass along to you.   And from my reading and study time in the Bible, it is most certainly only by the illumination of God’s Word by the Spirit reading for me (or speaking through and having directed the heart of someone I’m listening to deliver a sermon) that I can begin to comprehend the real value and meaning of the Word – otherwise, they are just words on a page. 

Know, too, that when you read the Word of God, any understanding that you have – when the Word speaks to your heart – it is the illuminating work of the Spirit within you.  Begin to recognize when the Spirit is stirring in you as you read, and you may start to recognize that suggestions you notice throughout other parts of your day are not merely thoughts that occur to you but actual direction by the Voice of God Himself within you.  He is always guiding you, leading you, encouraging you.  It is an amazing thing when you realize that you have not just an internal compass that is constantly directing your course, but also that the Spirit is truly your constant companion & you are, indeed, never alone – not even for a moment.

Ok… so back to the verse.  I did some mind wandering about just what it means to be rooted in fear – and this is what I got:


In our lives, with others, we often act out of fear of judgment because of fear of

Punishment – chastisement, penalty, reprimand, retribution

Criticism – censure, disapproval, disparagement, condemnation, denigration

Rejection – negative response, refusal, rebuff, dismissal

When we experience a lot of these things, and we haven’t been healed by love yet… we end up internalizing a lot of

Guilt - Shame – Remorse – Self-reproach

We can end up going through life with crushing low self-esteem, and even an inherent lack of self-worth

We end up carrying very heavy BURDENS - some imposed by others, some imposed by self – and often we fall into a habit of refusal to release those burdens

We SHUT DOWN – we start to believe we are unworthy of love; we begin to shut others out, refusing to believe it possible they truly love us because we live expecting all this negative reinforcement

Then we carry this awful shame based way of operating (because we have internalized it so much that it has become our way of life, our “natural” thought process, our identity) into our relationship with God…

We shut Him out; we begin to believe that we are so awful and wretched we are unworthy of His love, so we reject Him; we stop receiving His love… we’re closed off when we need Him most - we know the Bible says He’s with us, but we can’t feel His Presence anymore…  we lose hope and fall deeper into the pit of despair


It’s a pretty grim picture, huh?

Do you identify with any of that?

I know I was shut down from God for a long time.  I was SO depressed – many  times suicidal.  In so very much pain, I would hide myself in self medicating and self harm.  I would pray sometimes, but others I honestly felt like “What’s the point?”  People would tell me they’d pray for me, but it was of little comfort because I felt like God didn’t care.

I had closed myself off from Him.  Though I didn’t understand then that it was ME that did the closing off in the relationship.  I couldn’t understand why He was so distant, why He’d let me suffer.   In fact, the first time I read about living in a shame and rejection based mentality and how it could have devastating effects on my relationship with God, I STILL didn’t get it.  But I went back and re-read that chapter at the Spirit’s behest & that time… THAT time I got it.  I understood completely.  I was ready for what God had to show me that time around – the TRUTH of the matter was revealed to me. 

So I encourage you that if this message doesn’t entirely make sense the first go ‘round, consider bookmarking this post & pray about it.  Come back to it later, asking the Spirit to talk to you about it.  Allow HIM to teach you.


Ok, I didn’t come here just to paint a miserable picture.  So let’s look at that verse again…

"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].
1 john 4:18 AMP

Did ya get that?  The one who fears is not YET made perfect in love…  There is still HOPE!  There is ALWAYS HOPE when GOD is part of the equation!!!!

God still has a plan for those living in dejection – coming from a place of shame and guilt, carrying heavy burdens they have struggled to release, whether forced upon them by others or self-imposed.  God longs to restore all His children to a RIGHT relationship with Him.  I don’t just mean forgiveness here – I mean God desires for each of us to have a good and fruitful, real, meaningful and personal love relationship with Himself.  And He will pursue your heart relentlessly all the days of your life to draw you into one.  
I know it’s hard to believe in this moment, but He constantly, continuously offers His love freely even when we have shut down and cannot “feel” it.  I tell you surely, we cannot trust our feelings.  We must seek the Spirit’s help in understanding the TRUTH that our feelings are not reality and are most prone to manipulation and twisting by the enemy to keep us trapped in a defeated mentality.  I struggled with this concept the fist several times it was presented to me & only now understand it because Jesus Christ Himself explained it to me repeatedly over the course of months of personal encouragement in my daily prayers with Him.  I encourage you to write this note down and pray over it – ask God to illuminate this subject for you and give you understanding where there is none.  And keep on asking, keep on praying – be persistent.

"Ask and you will receive,
Seek and you will find,
Knock and the door will be opened unto you."
Luke 11:9

This verse does not ANYWHERE in it say ask once, seek occasionally, knock halfheartedly. We must be diligent and persist.  Work at building a real relationship with God in your life asking Him to help you come to understand ever more day by day that it is by far the most precious thing you can ever have in life.  Ask Him to help you know and comprehend that all else can be taken away in the breath of an instant, but the Lord your God is yours FOREVER. 

Trust me when I tell you that you will not regret spending time seeking God’s heart… He loves you more than you will ever know.  And the joy that you will find from walking with Him daily will surpass anything you have ever experienced that is of this world.  


Thank you so much for joining me today.
I hope you enjoyed this message & that you'll
share it with someone else who might need
to be encouraged in the Lord today.
If you're struggling with living 
in a shame based place,
know that you are not alone!
God is with you even when you cannot feel Him...
and ask for the Spirit to make Himself
known to you in ways you've
never experienced Him before -
as your Comfort, your Constant Companion.


Until next time...

Be blessed! <3

© K. Michelle Payne 2015

1 comment:


    There is good news
    There's a promise
    That no matter where you go
    You will never be alone...
    You are loved
    More than you know
    More than you could hope for
    After everything you've done...

    Lyrics by Ellie Holcomb <3