Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
What is Fear?
Fear can take on many shapes and forms. We can be afraid of failure or not being good enough. We can fear bad things happening to those we love. We can fear for our future, whether personal or national or even global. Or we can simply fear the unknown.
Another aspect of fear is worry. Worry doesn’t sound quite as bad as fear, does it? Still, its roots are the same, and it can have some of the same negative effects on us. If we get carried away with our worries, they can be just as detrimental.
Worries are often the manifestations of much deeper fears. For instance, we worry about not getting a certain job at work completed on time. Perhaps that worry is rooted in the underlying fear of failure.
No matter what exactly we’re afraid of or worrying about, apart from fear of the Lord, fear is ultimately from our enemy, Satan. Fear can be one of Satan’s biggest tools against us because of how crippling it can be. If Satan can make us afraid enough, he won’t have to worry about us stepping out in faith and doing something to further the kingdom of God. We’ll be too scared to be used by God or to do something out of our comfort zone.
Fear can also stunt our spiritual growth. If we’re too consumed with fear, we won’t have the time or energy to focus on God and allow His spirit to transform our minds. And if we don’t let God transform our minds, we won’t evolve and grow in our faith. We won’t ever be able to replace Satan’s lies with His truth.
How Does Love Cast Out Fear?
So why does 1 John say that perfect love casts out fear?
From a human standpoint, we can understand this at least a little bit. Take a child who knows and never doubts that her father loves her. One thing that comes with the knowledge of her father’s love is a sense of security. This child could be completely scared of a monster underneath her bed, but once her dad is there, she suddenly isn’t afraid anymore.
What made the difference? She trusts her dad and believes he’s capable of keeping her safe. This trust grows out of the intimate, loving relationship they share.
So, what does this mean for us? We need to be continuously developing our intimate relationship with our heavenly Father. It’s one thing to have a head knowledge of Him and to know that He loves us and can keep us safe, but that only takes us so far. We have to be intimately connected with Him to truly believe what we know about Him. We must allow His perfect love to filter through us and fill all of the cracks where fear can hide.
Honestly, our fears and worries tell us how much we really believe God is who He says He is. If we really believed God was all-powerful, involved in our lives, and cared enough to give us what’s best for us, what reason would we have to fear? It sounds harsh, but worry and fear is basically us telling God, “Sorry, but I don’t think you can handle this.”
The truth is, when we fully embrace and experience God’s love, we experience an intimate relationship with His true self. The more we experience God’s true self, the easier it is to believe that He is love. The easier it is to believe God’s promises are true. Just like a person is easier to trust the more you get to know him or her, God becomes more trustworthy the more we know Him.
The Fear of Death
The ultimate fear that Satan really wants us to embrace is the fear of death. Many people are afraid of dying for various reasons – the pain, what will happen to those they leave behind, and what will happen next in the afterlife. As Christians, we have no reason to fear death. We can rest assured that God will be with us, God will be with our loved ones, and we will be with God on the other side.
Death can only have power over us if we fear it. Jesus came to eliminate that needless fear. By embracing the love Jesus poured out for us on the cross, we as Christians don’t fear death anymore. Death can’t touch us. Not in a spiritual sense anyway. Our souls are completely safe in God’s hands, and we should be excited to meet Him face to face, not scared.
If you have given your life to Christ, your afterlife is secured. Knowing God’s love and grace is all we need to live the rest of our lives free of fear in our present and in our future.