ALL FEAR REMOVED
“My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!
This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He’s given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit. Also, we’ve seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son as Saviour of the world. Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.”
— 1 John 4:11-19 (The Message)
Shakespeare wrote about it, artists have expressed it in a rainbow of colours, men have penned songs to declare it and women dream of finding it.
Ah the age old question (and also a great 90’s tune) — “What is love?”
1 John 4:18 tells us that ‘perfect love casts out all fear’ – the Greek word that John uses for ‘perfect’ (teleioo) does not mean ‘flawless’ here, rather the word generally means ‘finished’ or ‘accomplished’. When something, like a trip or an assignment, attains its goal, it is said to be “perfected”.
If we are fearful, it is a sign that we are not living in this ‘perfected’ love of God; a love complete and wanting for nothing. In the same chapter a couple of verses before, the writer points out that in order for us to know this perfect love that frees us from our fears, we need to abide in God — take up full residence in Him as if he were a house where every room is occupied. God is love and as we abide in love, love abides in us. If this ‘perfected’ (well-formed) love abides in us then there is no longer any room for fear.
Our challenge is to allow God’s love to drown out the noise of our fears. What will we turn the volume up on?
When we are overwhelmed by life, when the future seems uncertain, when people cause us to feel that we are any less than what God says about us, we must turn the volume up on His love, and allow His Word to guard our hearts from wandering into the land of doubt and despair by reminding us of His truth — Romans 8:31 “What can we say about all this? If God is for us who can be against us”.
What does abiding in His love look like? Perhaps it’s as simple as being conscious of God’s love by writing down the times He has drawn close and spoken to you. Recall the moments He has answered your prayer, times when you have experienced random acts of kindness or generosity, even times when you have been encouraged.
Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. In other words, our focus shouldn’t be on the things we fear. As we do this, and as we become more conscious of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives, we allow God, outworked in love, to accomplish His work within us – all fear removed.