Empowerment for Maturity
Understanding how maturity occurs is a very powerful tool for leading us into freedom. So many Christians get stuck “working harder” only to end up battling condemnation. 1 John 4:18 says that “perfect (mature) love casts out fear.” When love is mature in us, it frees us of fear. All fear is based in some form of not believing we are loved.
Shame – Fear – Control Stronghold
There is a concept called the shame-fear-control stronghold by Chester and Betsy Kylstra. Let me explain it. When someone is controlling (whether through overt anger or passive withdrawal) and the relationship is cutoff, it is driven by fear. Fear, in turn, is driven by shame. Shame is based in lies we believe about ourselves. These lies are worded as such: “I’m flawed,” “I’m helpless,” “I’m bad,” “I’m dirty,” and so forth. Usually these are not necessarily consciously known, but are deep into our hearts and typically require prayer ministry or counseling to discover them. Of course, the Lord can reveal them in times of fasting and prayer too.
Love Not Law
It is love that addresses both fear and shame. In a very real sense, all sin and shortcoming is about a love deficit. There is a lacking, a shortage, or deficiency of love. Something in my heart is struggling to believe that God is good and loving and has the very best in mind for me. Therefore, trying harder, sacrificing, and living “white-knuckle” Christianity doesn’t mature us any more than shaking an empty piggy bank more violently will produce any coins. Romans 7 says that the law is what stirs up the sinful passions of the flesh, not what restrains it. Knowing we are loved at a deep heart level sets us free from fears and the need to control. It empowers us to rest and to respond to the “unrest” of others with maturity and compassion. Fear will be “cast out” and love will take its place.