Hello, and welcome to The Overflow Podcast. My name is Craig Booker. The title of this episode is The Power of Perfect Love.
The material in this episode is inspired by Winning the War on Worry by Louie Giglio.
Note: I will talk a lot about mental health, but please note this is not a substitute for therapy or mental health care. I am not a counselor or a physician. If you need help with mental health challenges, please find a qualified mental health professional.
The title of this episode is The Power of Perfect Love.
The Power of Perfect Love
In the last episode, we discuss inviting God into your worry.
So far we we are probably halfway or a little bit more this week will put us a little bit over halfway through the book.
So for this chapter we’re talking about or this episode we’re talking about The Power of Perfect Love.
And while the title is maybe not quite as as attractive as Worry is a Liar or one of the other. You know chapters that are more directly I don’t know that applicable is the right word, but really is catching and title.
But I think this section of this content has some huge impact in how we go about our lives.
So starting out in this section Louis is talking uh about perfect love and he says when we invite God into our worry we begin to realize that more than any solution he wants to give us a savior he wants to invite us into intimate and personal relationship with his son uh he goes on to say the counter agent for worry isn’t control it’s Faith rooted in love and so he’s making these statements to kind of set up the scene for a story and I he opens with this story talking about when Louis was in college and he had well he had graduated college he was getting ready to go to Seminary in Texas and he was in a long distance relationship with uh his wife Shelly of course they’re married now but they weren’t back then so Shelley was going to a school um it’s Baylor University it’s in Texas and he was going to Seminary I guess a few hours away he didn’t really go into details about where some what Seminary he went to but he would often get in the car and drive hours just to be able to see Shelley for a few minutes so you know they were in a long distance relationship as he describes and he’s going into setting the context that back then there were no smartphones there was no video calls like we used for our meeting uh you know there was no face time to be able to to see one another like we can today and so techno the technology back then was much more primitive and did not allow for some of the conveniences that we have today so you know in order for them to to see one another that meant that he had to get in the car and probably drive a few hours to get there to see her and she’s in college studying for exams and he tells this story when about they hadn’t seen each other in person for a while and he really didn’t have much of a plan but he just hopped in his car and started driving one night and he arrived at her dorm room and went into the lobby and he describes how he had two cans of a drink called Hawaiian Punch and that was their favorite drink at the time and so he goes to the front desk at or for her dorm room and has and puts the two cans on the desk and asks the person at the front desk to call up to her and have her come down to let her know that someone had left something for her and so he has these cans sitting on the desk there he hides somewhere there in the lobby so he can see her reaction when she comes down and uh so when she comes down like she immediately knows he’s there because he had brought into of their favorite drink and so you know they hung out in the lobby talking for I think he said about 15 minutes and she was in the process of studying for exams so she couldn’t stay very long and so you know after they had visited for a little while she goes back up to a room to study and he’s off to leave to go back home and he was talking about how you know he was thinking of all the cute guys that are there on campus that probably liked his uh who probably liked Shelley at the time thought she was really cute and uh he wanted to express his feelings of love or Shelley and so you know he thought of this idea and so he went to the grocery store that was local there and picked up some poster board picks up some markers and some other supplies because he wanted to make this really big sign uh to post in the courtyard uh so that he could give Shelly a wake-up call in the next morning so that when she opened the blinds she would see this big sign that said I love you and she would automatically know that was from Louis and so um so you know he made that sign he posted it he knew about where her window was or where her window faced in the courtyard and so he posted it there and covered it up so it wouldn’t get disturbed by the rain uh and and that’s the story that he opens with and so he’s talking about the reasons why like why did he do this you know he had no plan going there to see her he didn’t think it through uh he just wanted to see her and you know this whole idea with you know making this poster it was born out of just he just loved her and he wanted her to know it and so it was just what he talked about is that he was hopelessly in love with Shelley and he wanted her to know it and so that’s the story he opens with he’s talking about uh about perfect love and so he Tran then transitions to talking about God’s great love for you and he says do you realize God has left us stunningly powerful message of love for you he hung the greatest I love you of all time on a tree at Calvary through the death of his son you can see his message from wherever you are today if you just turn and look towards the cross he goes on to say speaking of God he says he has never loved you more because of your good deeds nor has he ever loved you less because of your sinful acts you have committed he is love he his love is unchanging it is the same yesterday today and tomorrow he continues in his love we have the only weapon we’ll ever need to extinguish and eradicate worry from our lives so then we transition to asking what is your operating system
so he tells a story about technology these days the public has become familiar with this idea of an operating system everybody you know the majority of people either have a phone or a computer or something that runs software that allows them to operate the device and he goes into talking about every year you know big technology providers update this operating system and things change making it faster adding features and so he’s talking about this idea of an operating system and he says we have heart we have a hardware our bodies and a software our minds and spirits and when it comes to winning the war on worry by recognizing the power of perfect love we need to take a step back and ask ourselves what operating system are we using he then says this is the breakdown of where most of our worry comes from it starts with fear progresses to control and then to worry I said we entertain feelings of fear often stemming from questions starting with what if think back to chapter one what if I get sick what if I don’t measure up what if I lose a loved one or my job or my house what if she walks away from the marriage what if people found out just how broken I am our fear leads us to control or to try to control to try to stand up and straighten up to take the necessary actions to avoid negative outcomes but our shoulders were never meant to carry the weight of being in full control so as we realized that control is actually quicksand pulling us even further under we begin to worry fear spawns the need for control which gives birth to worry and from worry comes a whole host of unhealthy practices and compromises I mean you might have seen this play out in your own life uh you know this progression and he shows kind of like not really a diagram but yes like uh the word fear and then an arrow going to control and then an arrow going to worry so any time that we experience fear we will probably see this progression in my own uh Journey what I’ve seen is if try to add some layer to this of how trauma plays into this if we experience some events that are traumatizing deaths like either in just one that one event can Propel us to have fear because it’s kind of like we get knocked off our feet by that event we weren’t expecting it we didn’t see it coming and all of a sudden we’re just taken back by whatever happened to us in our lives and so that event causes us in our brains to start thinking about we want to prevent or protect ourselves or our family uh depending on the situation and so we start thinking about ways that we can control things whether that’s you know keeping your home safe in my my experience nothing happened to make my family unsafe so I had things happen to me at work losing a job or struggling to find a job but immediately my brain was trying to exercise control because of the fear that I was experiencing and so I stepped up my game of making sure my house was Secure and that was just me trying to control and then that progressed even worse when that wasn’t working to worry and so it went from experiencing a traumatic event which created fear in my own life uh It sped up the need for control to try to protect my family and then it it progressed to worry uh consistently worrying worrying about all different types of things like you know like he was describing so I hope that progression kind of helps make things clear so he talks about if that’s the formula for how the world operates what about how we as children of God should operate so if that’s the broken way that the world operates what’s what’s the best practice right that’s the question I’m getting here is what is the best practice for believers and he says it should go something like this we start with love because uh God loves us and he shows us this love and then that love should lead us to surrender and then to trust so before we had fear with an arrow going to control with an arrow going to worry here we have love with an arrow going to surrender and then another arrow going to trust so it says when we invite God into our worry and dwell in the abiding relationship with Jesus our operating system shifts instead of fear being the motivator or for our lives we start with love that’s what scripture means when it says in first John 4 18 through 19 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 and in love we love because he first loved us he goes on to say when we experience and internalize the perfect love of God there is no room for fear he says perfect love drives out fear and once fear is gone we no longer have the pressing need for control instead we can be free to fully surrender and submit to the perfect love of God because we trust that his love is not only his not only his best offering it’s what’s best for us and he goes into another section here I I want to pause here because part of me says I understand what Louie’s talking about if I if Louis was there I’d say I understand you Louie but what about this over here and what about this trauma that I’ve been through because I I think that if we just look at this material as it is
it’s helpful it’s good but sometimes our brain health is not that easy
I don’t know about any of you but sometimes it’s not that simple
like true like perfect love does cast out fear but when you go through traumatic events it’s not that simple because maybe you don’t feel safe anymore and I what I know is if someone doesn’t feel what’s called felt safety they’re gonna have a really hard time using this material and so that’s why I want to pause here and say yes this is absolutely true but at the same time if someone is constantly in fight or flight mode meaning they they are not feeling safe they’re going to really struggle with what we just talked about and what I’ve learned even more recently is figuring out how in my own life I get to that point of felt safety
because once I get there I can start living out what Louie’s talking about but if I can’t get there as an individual as a believer I’m just going to struggle with this
because it somewhat feels not fair you know if I was having a conversation I would be like but but you know I would I would be hesitating with this and fighting it if I was in that mindset I would be saying if I was on the listening end I’d be saying Craig you just don’t get what I’ve been through you don’t see you haven’t seen what I’ve seen uh you know you haven’t experienced what what I’ve lost and so I want to let you know that I hear you I understand it I’ve been on that end I get that what I would uh say is you need if you’re in that place where this just doesn’t seem possible and you’re constantly in fight or flight mode uh always looking for the next thing that’s going to harm you you need to get to a place of felt safety and that I can’t give you a formula for that because that’s going to be different based on you and your preferences and your experiences but that has really been the thing that’s really helped me is getting to that point and I don’t have a formula for it I don’t know what one thing did it for me I just know that that made this possible for me so uh we’ll continue on uh so he goes on to say and he’s talking about Romans 8 31 and it says if God is for us who can be against us and then it goes into verse 32 which says he who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all howly not also along with him graciously give us all things Louie asks do you see the connection worry has no place in our hearts because God loved us so much that he already sent his son for us he didn’t spare Jesus but instead sent him to show us how perfectly and how much he loves us if God was willing to do that how will he not also help us overcome every fear and source of worry in our lives it would be like someone being willing to give you their house but then refusing you to give a one dollar bill it just doesn’t make sense so he says I want to point out one last thing about the text in Romans 8 32. it ends with the phrase all things Paul wrote how will he not also along with him graciously give us all things the term for all things in Greek is Poss like p-a-s it means each every any all the whole in other words everything we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose that’s Romans 8 28. so you’ve probably heard this verse Romans 8 28 and he he uses this phrase all things again he asks do you see the correlation God along with Jesus loves you so much that he is willing to give you all things and all those things that he is giving you he is committed to working out for your good and he says that word good is a bit tricky because it doesn’t always mean positive external circumstances remember we know people still walk through very real and very difficult circumstances we live on a broken planet with an actual and vicious enemy but the word good means that you’re going to win in the end says God is committed to working to working all things out for the good of those who love him he’s proven it by not sparing his only son but sending him and through Jesus blood you and I can use a new operating system to replace fear and grow in love so that’s a lot to unpack right there’s a lot of verses and Concepts to unpack there um I really like how Louis kind of explains this you know I’ve heard other messages in the past that quote the first John 4 18-19 that says there’s no fear and love but perfect love drives out fear I’ve I’ve had people you know mention that in messages but nobody really gets the Practical so I really like this I want to try to unpack it a bit so Louie’s point is God has spared no expense at meeting our needs he explains that the word good is tricky because it doesn’t mean that our circumstances are all going to be you know peachy all perfect you know it’s not going to work out like we hope it would work out but that doesn’t mean that it’s not good does does that hit home with anybody else he is working for our good but that good is not always how we picture it and I think that’s where many people get lost that’s where many people walk away from their faith is because they expect that word good to mean exactly how they pictured in their mind good meaning their their circumstances are going to work out perfectly they’re going to get the job they’ve been needing you know it’s going to fix their marriage they are just not understanding that that doesn’t mean that our life’s going to work out perfect in the way that we see it but it means that we’re going to win in the end so he asks the question and I I think you really should reflect on this for yourself do you believe that God loves you do you believe it do you believe that he loves you Your Instinct reaction may be of course Craig I believe he loves me I think it’s worth pausing on
reflecting on it all right so I asked the question again do you believe that God loves you because sometimes when we go through things things that we face in our life trauma hits us not just one thing several things it causes us the question we start to wonder about God’s goodness and his faithfulness and his plan that we’ve been told about that God has a plan for our lives it causes us to question not just if he has a plan but is he still good and does he still love us circumstances do that to us and I think that times we we really question this and we really need to revisit some of the foundations of our faith because our current circumstances
brings this into question and we need to be reminded so he goes on he says not just that he likes you when you’re doing good things for him not that he tolerates you even though you occasionally slip up from being holy but that he loves you and that nothing absolutely and unequivocally nothing can separate you from that love if you believe that and you hold it in your heart and mind you have the greatest and only weapon you will ever need to put a dagger through the heart of worry you know if we really dig down and don’t gloss over and don’t just say well of course Craig God loves me yeah I believe he you know sent Jesus to die on the cross for me sometimes we really just need to absorb and really ask the question whether we believe God loves us and we need to revisit that we’re really questioning that whether we’re thinking about it or not it’s in the back of our head somewhere subconsciously we’re questioning God’s love for us so again he says that if you believe that that he loves you and hold it in your heart and mind you have the greatest and only weapon you’ll ever need to put a dagger through the heart of worry because if he really loves us he wants what’s best for us he’s watching over us all of these things that we flip out over all these not yet realized challenges that our minds start fixating on you know all of these things that cause us to panic and wonder like does God really care for us are we going to be safe you know all of these things just rock our world but we need to get back to the point of whether we really believe that God loves us because if we in our hearts in our minds if we can get this in our head that he really loves us he wants what’s best for us he is good and he is working behind the scenes it’s when it doesn’t seem like it if we really believe this that really reframes everything we’re looking at in our world now I’m not saying you’re not going to struggle through it you’re not going to be like yeah I believe you’re not going to be like you know that story in the Bible where the guy’s like I believe but help me overcome my unbelief I think that’s where we’re gonna be a lot of the times at least as for me I’d be like yeah God I believe but I’m really having I’m struggling through believing I need help but I think that’s a fundamental question that we just miss we don’t even consider it when we’re talking about worry we’re talking about fear we’re talking about anxiety uh you know we go to the doctor to try to address our anxiety and they give us medicine and that’s great but we never stop and ask the question that is so key to our world view do we believe that God loves us do we believe in his goodness we believe that he has a plan and that he’s working all things for good and we just need to re-ground ourselves and our faith at that point we may need to have a lot of honest conversations with God thank God I’m struggling I I do believe this but I need your help so I hope I hope that really just sinks in
because I needed that message
I wanted to skip over this chapter because I’ve heard this the this verse that says you know perfect love drives out fear and it got me nowhere I felt like this is the Sunday School answer that everybody gives to people that are struggling with fear and anxiety and worry they just shove this verse at you and say kind of like you if you really believe this you should do better I think as individuals we really need to to have those conversations with God because we’re doubting it and and we’re looking past God’s love we need to be reminded a lot of times we need to be reminded of his faithfulness we need to go back and look in our journal and see when he answered prayer when we needed something we needed his provision and he showed up because no matter whether you’re supporting someone that’s struggling with brain health or you’re going through it yourself the journey is going to be longer and it’s going to take more out of you than you have and you’re gonna need this reassurance that God is good and he loves you because most likely everything’s not going to work out exactly how you planned and it’s going to be rough
so our discussion will go through discussion questions here and then I encourage you to do this later during your week number one recall the last time you demonstrated your love for someone else how did that make you feel and what does that tell you about how God loves you so it has the progression fear and then arrow pointing to control and the arrow pointing the worry then it says or love with an arrow pointing to surrender with another arrow pointing to trust what operating system do you find yourselves falling back on more often than others so which one of those do you choose most time what circumstances trigger you towards one operating system or the other number three what would change in your life if you more richly understood how much God loves you all right number four it says read first John what truths do you see in this chapter that relate to the love of God how can you internalize one or two of those truths today.
That’s all for this episode. Thank you for watching. If you liked the video, give us a thumbs up, and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on future episodes.
“…when we invite God into our worry, we begin to realize that
more than any solution, He wants to give us a Savior. He wants to invite us into an intimate and personal relationship with His Son.”1
The Power of Perfect Love – Introduction
Louie opens telling a story about when he was in college. He was in a long-distance relationship with Shelley, his wife. She was going to school at Baylor University. He would often get in the car and drive for hours just to see Shelley for a few minutes.
He did these things because he was hopelessly in love with Shelley.
God’s Great Love For You
“Do you realize God has left a stunningly powerful message of love for you? He hung the greatest ‘I love you’ of all time on a tree at Calvary through the death of His Son. You can see His message from wherever you are today if you just turn and look toward the cross.”1
“He has never loved you more because of your good deeds, nor has He ever loved you less because of the sinful acts you have committed. He is love. His love is unchanging. It is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.”1
“In His love we have the only weapon we’ll ever need to extinguish and eradicate worry from our lives.”1
What’s Your Operating System?
“We have a hardware (our bodies) and a software (our minds and spirits). When it comes to winning the war on worry by recognizing the power of perfect love, we need to take a step back and ask ourselves, what operating system are we using?”1
Fear OS (Operating System)
“This is the breakdown of where most of our worry comes from: Fear → Control → Worry.”1
“We entertain feelings of fear, often stemming from questions starting with, ‘What if?’ Think back to chapter 1: What if I get sick? What if I don’t measure up? What if I lose a loved one or my job or my house? What if she walks away from the marriage? What if people found out just how broken I am?”1
“Our fear leads us to try to control. To try to stand up and straighten up. To take the necessary actions to avoid negative outcomes. But our shoulders were never meant to carry the weight of being in full control.”1
“So, as we realize that control is actually quicksand pulling us even farther under, we begin to worry.”1
“Fear spawns the need for control, which gives birth to worry. And from worry comes a whole host of unhealthy practices and compromises.”1
Love OS (Operating System)
“If that’s the formula for how the world operates, what about how we as children of God should operate? It goes like this: Love→Surrender → Trust”1
“When we invite God into our worry and dwell in an abiding relationship with Jesus, our operating system shifts. Instead of fear being the motivator for our lives, we start with love.”1
“That’s what Scripture means when it says in 1 John 4:18-19: ‘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. We love because he first loved us.’”1
“When we experience and internalize the perfect love of God, there is no room for fear.”1
“Perfect love drives out fear. And once fear is gone, we no longer have the pressing need for control.”1
“Instead, we can be free to fully surrender and submit to the perfect love of God because we trust that His love is not only His best offering, it’s what’s best for us!”1
“Do you see the connection? Worry has no place in our hearts because God loved us so much that He already sent His Son for us. He didn’t spare Jesus but instead sent Him to show us how perfectly and how much He loves us.”1
“If God was willing to do that, how will He not also help us overcome every fear and source of worry in our lives? It would be like someone being willing to give you their house but then refusing to give you a one-dollar bill.”1
“I want to point out one last thing about that text in Romans 8:32. It ends with the phrase all things. Paul wrote, ‘How will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?’ The term for all things in Greek is pas. It means ‘each, every, any, all, the whole.’ In other words, every-thing.”1
“We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28
“Do you see that correlation? God, along with Jesus, loves you so much that He is willing to give you all things. And all those things that He is giving you, He is committed to working out for your good.”1
“That word good is a bit tricky because it doesn’t always mean positive external circumstances. Remember: we know people still walk through very real and very difficult circumstances. We live on a broken planet, with an actual and vicious Enemy. But that word good means that you’re going to win in the end.”1
“God is committed to working all things out for the good of those who love Him. He’s proven it by not sparing His only Son but sending Him. And through Jesus’ blood, you and I can use a new operating system to replace fear and grow in love.”1
“Not just that He likes you when you are doing good things for Him. Not that He tolerates you even though you occasionally slip up from being holy. But that He loves you, and that nothing-absolutely and unequivocally nothing-can separate you from that love?”1
“If you believe that and hold it in your heart and mind, you have the greatest and only weapon you will ever need to put a dagger through the heart of worry.”1
“Father, I’m humbled and in awe of the great power of Your love. You have done what I could never do, so I worship You because You deserve every ounce of my affection. Bury the seeds of Your love deep within my heart and draw out the resulting fruit, as Your Spirit moves me to see and savor You more.”1
- Recall the last time you demonstrated your love for someone else. How did that make you feel, and what does that tell you about how God loves you?
- Fear > Control > Worry or Love → Surrender → Trust, What operating system do you find yourself falling back on more often than others? What circumstances trigger you toward one operating system or the other?
- What would change in your life if you more richly understood how much God loves you?
- Read 1 John 4. What truths do you see in this chapter that relate to the love of God? How can you internalize one or two of those truths today?
 Giglio, L. (2022). Winning the War On Worry – Cultivate a Peaceful Heart and a Confident Mind. Thomas Nelson.