Perfect love gets beyond our emotional baggage, limitations, or fears. It provides practical solutions and meets us where we are. Above all it is faithful.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:7)
I don’t doubt that God has a great sense of humour, and I love that He will sometimes give us quirky little things to remind us of important truths. I cannot help but smile when this particular verse comes to mind because it shows me so clearly that He knows me, totally and completely – and that He loves me. In short, I am valuable to Him, a concept I struggled to accept for many years. There’s a long story behind that, but the significance of today’s verse is that it cut through all my accumulated baggage with a single simple truth. Whatever the ‘truth’ each of us needs, God’s perfect love provides it.
The practical nature of God’s perfect love.
It’s one thing to know and ‘believe’ in our heads that what the Bible tells us is true. It’s quite another to ‘apply’ that to ourselves in a practical and meaningful way. This is why there’s so much focus on the heart in the Bible. When a truth moves from head to heart, that is when it takes hold and begins its work of transformation. But first, we have to move it and root it in the heart. Perfect love does this work, often through simple and practical ways.
For me, it was the mention of the hairs on my head. It was a quirky, practical, heart-softening revelation that changed me and changed my life. First, I was blessed with a lot of hair – more than my ‘fair share,’ I’m sure. This simple fact made the idea of God numbering them just plain mind-boggling. Second, a side effect of Hashimoto’s disease is that we lose hair, much more than is normal. This was where God’s perfect love finally got through to me. He knew beforehand that I’d need more hair because of my condition. Then He still numbers each one? At any moment in time, at the rate my hair falls out, He still knows exactly how many I have? That’s crazy-beautiful.
Perfect love meets us where we are.
For me, this was a powerful revelation of perfect love. From that moment on, I was able to believe and receive and live in the sure and certain knowledge of my place in His heart. And all it took was hair and feathers. Don’t you just love that sense of humour? We so often look for writing on the wall or burning bushes and overlook the sparrows already nesting on the porch. God’s perfect love isn’t a super-spiritual force that sweeps in with trumpets blazing. It’s practical provision for the moment we’re actually in. Perfect love doesn’t sit back and listen. It’s starts moving so that it can meet us where we are.
There’s a lot of erroneous teaching around about the perfect – often called unconditional – love of God. Most of it centres on feel-good ‘truths’ that are only tenuously connected to real truth. While it’s absolutely impossible to fully define God’s perfect love, it manifests on a daily basis in our lives in practical ways. Perfect love doesn’t pretend we are something that we are not. It knows us for what we really are but rolls up its sleeves and steps into the mud to meet us right where we are.
God’s perfect love is about solutions, not feelings.
To really know and receive the perfect love of God, we need to get past the issue of ‘feelings.’ Contrary to what the world teaches, a believer’s heart is not the centre of emotions. It’s the centre of life in Christ and the ‘home of truth’ within us. Knowing the love of God is spiritual by nature. It is knowledge that transcends earthly emotion and is rooted in faith and truth. Perfect love cuts through the things of the flesh to the place of honesty. While the revelation of it may bring ‘warm and fuzzy’ feelings, these are incidental. Its power lies in providing solutions in every moment of need.
I don’t suggest that we ‘turn off’ the emotions. That’s impossible to do. Besides, God made us with them wired into who we are. Emotions will always have a part to play. But knowing perfect love is practical – it’s the stepping stone to intimacy, faith, and trust in God. It’s the practical manifestation of perfect truth in the small details of our daily lives. I try to regularly look back on my day and see the dozens of different solutions that God provided. His perfect love plans ahead and prepares for every moment of every day.
Living in the knowledge of perfect love.
There is tremendous assurance in know that perfect love is mine despite who and what I am. It’s way bigger than my sins and shortcomings, and it already knows what will happen today, tomorrow, and next week. Nothing I do, think, or say – or omit – can separate me from it. Perfect love is practical but it’s also faithful. I may vacillate, deviate, or lose the plot, but God’s perfect love is always there. It gives courage, comfort, encouragement, discipline, teaching, provision, and correction. God is able to number the hairs on my head because He knows me intimately – from within. Where the Spirit dwells, God’s perfect love is there. It has become a part of who I am in Christ. I cannot lose it, misplace it, or escape it. Perfect love is Christ in me, and it’s eternal.
Gracious Father, thank You for a perfect love that is able to move beyond our weaknesses and baggage and take root in our hearts. We rejoice in the knowledge that Your love meets our every need, and that it’s eternally faithful. Help us to look past our ‘feel-good’ needs to Your heart, and to see the practical outworking of Your perfect love in the little details that make up our lives.