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
Years ago. Many years ago, a young man challenged me to memorize this verse. He knew just by hanging out with me at work and occasionally at lunch that my life was ruled by fear. He saw that I was a prisoner of the lies – many lies – that I had gulped down over the few years of my life.
What I saw as we occasionally hung out together was a very handsome, outgoing single young man, who was so mysteriously free of self condemnation.
He was free.
I was not!
I thought if he was so obviously living and working, laughing and confident then I should probably listen to his advice. The advice, more so the challenge, was to memorize this scripture verse.
He was serious about this word being transformative. He quizzed me often and encouraged my progress.
In time, I realized that I was not only gulping down this one life giving niblet, I recognized that I was starving for the meat of truth. I wanted more nourishment. He fed me more.
I was ravenous for this bread of life and living water.
And then one day, he moved on. The young man, I mean! We didn’t hang out anymore. But God sent other peers within my work place to walk alongside me in discipleship. One of my managers even purchased a Bible for me, and invited me to Friday morning Bible study.
Maybe we shouldn’t under estimate the value of just hanging out in fellowship with another human being. Especially, perhaps, we should ask our Father to connect us with another who has all the indications of living captive to lies. I believe that simply spending time together creates an atmosphere in which our freedom and their captivity become obvious.
The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed,
Luke 4:18 HCSB
I believe it can be truly that simple. If we just take time to listen and walk alongside, they will begin to recognize the fruit of freedom. Their hunger to have what we have will eventually be revealed. Over time, I believe, the one trapped in lies will reach out to take hold of the Word we have to offer.
I believe, as it’s been true in my own life, we will encounter ravenous people longing for life-giving bread and eternal water. If we are willing, we will be amazed at how God will so graciously join us in the middle to do the needed restoration. If we are willing, we will see miracles – captives set free!
Eyes on Jesus… You’re shining!