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The Perfect Love of a Child

By Steve Henry

Burke CountySteve Henry Burke County

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment. He who fears has not been perfected in love.”
     Hebrews 10:14 “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” 

Some of the Greek and Hebrew definitions of the words “perfect, perfection, and perfected” are “to complete, complete, to set out for a definite point or goal,  to bear or carry”.
His goal has always been to make us complete, or one with Him and the Father, and He was willing to bear our griefs and carry our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4-5) as a way to make us complete in Him. You can’t get any more perfect (complete) than God. Adam and Eve initially started in a perfect state finding their completion in the One that created them in His own image (Genesis 1:26). They lost that perfection when they disobeyed God and passed that same incomplete image down to all mankind, but God had a plan in place already for our redemption and restoration to that perfect state when we turn to Him in simple child-like faith and receive His Son as our Savior (Revelation13:8).
The definition of “creature” in 2nd Corinthians 5:17 means “original formation” and also “(through the idea of the proprietorship of the manufacturer); to fabricate, that is, found (form originally): – create, Creator, make.”
Praise God, He recreates us into the image of His Son, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah! I’m far from perfect but I discovered the perfect love of my Heavenly Father when, in simple childlike faith, I received His precious Son as my Savior and when I did He perfected me forever. We are perfect in our Daddy’s eyes!
Five times in John 17:21-23 He uses the word “one.” Just hours before Judas betrayed Him Jesus was praying for us that we might be one, that we might be made perfect with Him and the Father.
God the Father gave His One and only Son that we might be made one with them, no more separation because of our sin but a sweet oneness, completion with Almighty God. When our Savior died He won back for us what Satan stole from Adam and Eve, their completeness with the Father.
Should we give Him our best? Absolutely, or better yet we should follow His instruction in Romans 12:1 and give Him ourselves and allow Him to bring out His very best through us (Galatians 2:20).

I’ve heard it said, “We should strive for perfection, we will never attain it, but we should strive for it.” Misguided thinking like that can lead us into the bondage of perfectionism that can rob us of the freedom that has already been won for us. Perfectionism creates the “paralysis of analysis,” and can destroy our closest relationships. His Word commands us to “be perfect,” (Matthew 5:48) not strive for it, He then fulfills His own command to us by declaring us “perfected forever” the moment we receive His Son as our Savior (Hebrews 10:14). He does for us what we cannot do for ourselves, so why not learn to rest in Him and allow Him to accomplish through us what His heart desires for us (Galatians 2:20).

One hot summer day while my son and I were trout fishing our Father taught me a valuable lesson about resting in Him. The day started out with comfortable temperatures but as the day progressed so did the heat as it rose well into the nineties. We found a still pool of water away from the current of the river and when we simply laid down it met the need for relief from the heat that we so desperately needed. Then I realized, we were already standing in the source of our relief, all we had to do was lie down in it and enjoy the refreshing rest from the heat. Jesus so lovingly tells us in Matthew 11:28-30 if we find ourselves laboring, striving, just come to Him and He will give us rest. He is our source, when we have Him we have everything we need.

Try to live perfectly and endure all the frustration that brings to ourselves and others, or receive the promise that we are “perfected forever” and live in the wonder and the grace of the One that declared that promise over us, realizing how deeply He loves us.
My dear friend Rick told me he thought the “perfect love” mentioned in this scripture was all about that simple faith and love of a child. Our children love us unconditionally and aren’t afraid to approach us about anything. As I considered that I realized that type of faith is so rooted in the love of Almighty God that we should not hesitate to approach Him about anything and believe that He will meet any need that we bring to Him, a faith that recognizes that our Daddy can do anything, and so can we (Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”).

Many years ago, while playing with my son and his friends in our yard, I decided to participate in a ramp jumping contest the boys had started. They built the ramp out of a cinder block and a piece of plywood and were jumping their bicycles over it. I made the tragic mistake of saying “I can do that,” so I straddled that twenty-inch bicycle with my six-foot-three frame, and off I went. I peddled up to my neighbor’s drive, and even told my neighbor and her sister-in-law “Watch this,” (we males never get over trying to impress the ladies). I quickly formulated what I thought was a good plan that in my mind consisted of building up all the speed I could, hitting the ramp dead center, sailing over it, and landing. I was standing up on the peddles of that bike and the last thing I remember before the ambulance came was hitting the ramp dead center. The next thing to hit was the front tire, and subsequently the right side of my forehead. After the impact, I slid on the right side of my face in the pea gravel that our street was made of.
Later on in the ER, the doctor picked gravel out of my wounds for thirty minutes before he could stitch me up and while he was working on me he said “Mr. Henry, if you decide to have plastic surgery you might want to get it done in the next six months.” I thought to myself “What kind of mess have I made of myself.”
Becky even told me that in the dim light of the hospital room, I looked like Freddie Krueger. If you can imagine raw hamburger meat that is what the right side of my face looked like.
When I got home the next day our pastor came by to check on me and I told him I wouldn’t be attending church on Sunday for fear of scaring the kids. He told the congregation that he saw me and it scared him.

My daughter Jessica was about four at the time and when she came home from her grandparents the next day I asked Becky to prepare her for what she was about to see. When Jess came into the room she looked at me and in the sweet tone of a four-year-old she said “Hey Daddy,” and crawled up in my arms as if nothing was wrong or out of the ordinary. She just loved her Daddy and wanted to be with him. Joy flooded this Daddy’s heart when he realized his little girl was not afraid of him, no matter how he looked.

I share this story for those of you that didn’t have that loving relationship with your earthly father, for those of you that are still tormented by excessive punishment that was inflicted upon you, and maybe are projecting the image of that scary, imperfect father onto your heavenly Father, a Father that just wants to show you His unconditional love and grace. Please, let me encourage you to study the scriptures to discover who He really is and allow Him to perfect your love for Him until you can crawl up in His lap like a little child, and permit Him to lavish His love on you. It will make His day and yours too.

Here are a couple of scriptures that will help you on your journey.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

1 Peter 5:6-7 “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you.”


Steve Henry has been a lifelong resident of Burke County. God blessed him with an incredible lady that he has been married to for 43 years. He has also blessed Steve with two wonderful children and two beautiful granddaughters.

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