1 John 4:18 (NLT)
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.
Many people today live in fear. Fear of people. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of not having enough. Fear of not being able to trust, not being loved, or able to love. Fear of violence, crime, war, discrimination, and victimization. Fear of government overrule. Fear of other people’s opinions and not being liked or accepted. Fear of death.
When we fear, it is nearly impossible to love. And when we can’t or don’t love, it is largely because we’ve never learned what it means to trust. Love is a result of trust that cancels out fear. God loves us unconditionally and unapologetically not because we are perfect or because we give excellent performances. God loves us because he created us as objects of his love. He cannot do anything else but love.
The love of God has no fear. His love is perfect and it casts out fear. It pushes through the hard shell of our hearts and the sad condition of our souls and pulls us to himself. It pierces through the chaos and the noise and the confusion to settle us into a place of divine reality — a stark difference from the world of falsities, fakes, and facades.
We tend to create ideas about God. These ideas reflect our own finite thoughts, assumptions, fears, and suppositions. We hold on to these things even above God’s revelation of himself and the hundreds of verses and testaments about who God is. We reduce God to our own understanding which is like trash turned to rubble. With a lack of understanding and experience in God’s love, we minimize it to our conditional understanding of love which leaves us with a God that is not great, but is instead sporadic and undependable.
Scripture tells us that if we are afraid it is because we have not experienced the deep, abiding love of God. God’s love is there, it is all around, it is in our lives. But sometimes we allow ourselves to be jaded and shaded by the negative events that make up our daily lives. Lew Wallace said, “Riches take wings, comforts vanish, hope withers away,but love stays with us. Love is God.” God’s love is available but you have to open yourself up to it. It’s up to you to receive it.
The sin that lies underneath all sins is that we believe the lie of the devil that God cannot be trusted and that his grace cannot be depended on. It’s believing that we have to do something or take matters into our own hands. We don’t. It takes courage (not fear) to receive freely and fully embrace the love that God has for us — love that is unfathomable, awesome, multiplied, abundant and glorious.
“Fear is to begin with the end in mind. There is no end. Life is eternal. Live life knowing that the end was your past, and the future is only full of beautiful beginnings through an eternity built around God’s love.”
— Shannon L. Alder