“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18 ESV)
Yesterday, we talked about the importance of living in the realization that God is with us.
God’s answer for our fear problem is not to make us stronger, give us more will-power, quicken our resolve, or even take away our fear.
His solution is to remind us that He is with us. And if God is with us… what do we have to fear?
God is unstoppable, undefeatable, undeterrable (is that a word?)…
If He chooses to stand beside us, in the midst of our earthly battles, we can do nothing but be victorious over anything that comes against us.
But there is one essential thing that WE are required to do. We must stand on our own two feet and choose to NOT be afraid.
How do we do that? Fear is calling us out. Fear is in our face. Fear is roaring like a hungry lion.
What is more… we know, deep down, we are not strong enough to overcome our fear. We have failed in the past… and we will surely fail in the present. We need some serious help.
We hear the good news (in Scripture) that God wants to stand with us – and we are thankful for the opportunity to have the Almighty stand at our side. But we have a huge problem…
We look at us… Then, we look at Him… and we immediately conclude that He should want nothing to do with us. We are frail, flawed, foolish, and (oh yeah) fearful. We are everything that He is NOT. Why would He even want to help us – stand with us – be with us (at all)? It doesn’t make any sense.
If you and I were God, we would probably “cut all ties” with all the cowardly, and seek out some brave, less-flawed, souls with whom to hang out. Find some real go-getters, some sure-fire world-changers, and buddy up with them.
The real problem with us… is us. We just can’t get our heads around the fact that God could possibly care enough about little old us, to ever come alongside us. So we resort to what we have always done… hide in our safe places – and ponder our need for help – and cower in our fear…
When we look at our lives, we see all the frailties, the failures, the cowardice – and somehow conclude that we are just not that loveable. We don’t really come to God, in the fullness of our hearts, because we really don’t think that He could possibly love us as we are.
We are actually afraid… of Him.
All our reasonings make logical sense. Accept for one thing. When it comes to us, the most logical Being ever, is just not that logical. The greatest Mind that will ever exist, seems to lose His Mind… when it comes to us. But, that’s what the Bible calls “perfect love.”
Perfect love is not reasonable. Perfect love is not conditional. It is not limited. Ever.
God is love (1 John 4) – and He loves perfectly. And we are the focus and attention of His love.
And, oh yeah, there is one other thing that perfect love does… it “casts out fear.”
When we really think about it, what keeps us from drawing close to our infinitely loving God? It is our fear of Him. We are honestly afraid that He will dish out what we really deserve. We conclude that He should severely punish us for our failures and flaws. And it is that fear of punishment that causes us to keep our distance from Him – a nice, safe distance.
It is easy to forget that God’s perfect love caused Him to send Jesus, to take all our punishment for us. That makes no sense either. But senseless things are what perfect love does.
It is not the presence of God that casts out our fear – it is the welcoming of His perfectly-loving Presence that shifts our focus from our sorry state, to His glorious magnificence. We accept and receive His perfect love – and in the light of His amazing love, fear is cast aside.
Prayer focus: God, help me to embrace Your perfect love – and Your abiding presence with me.