1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.
How does perfect love drive out fear? I’ve been thinking about this verse since we started the series and asking myself this question. I know it sounds really true and really powerful, but how does it work? WHY does it work? And why does it matter to me – how can I take advantage of this principle?
I don’t think I have all the answers, but one way that this is starting to make sense to me is this: fear at its foundation often involves a lack of trust that good will happen in our lives. We lack trust that God will provide, so we fear losing our job. We lack trust that God will protect our kids, so we fear for their safety. Being perfectly loved tells us that HE IS WITH US and loves us as his children, and we can TRUST him in all things. Embracing that you are loved dispels fear because it reminds you that you can trust your heavenly father.
I tend to be a weird combination of a realist and an optimist. I’d love (As a preacher) to just write that first paragraph. It sounds so beautiful and so powerful – LOVE WINS! The problem is, we’ve all been there when our fears have been realized! We HAVE lost our job. Our kids HAVE had bad things happen to them. And so on. So how does love drive out fear, when your fears are realized?
Its an honest question. And the answer isn’t easy. Here’s where I land on this one: Love drives out fear because we trust him in the moment, and we trust him after the moment. Here’s the thing, Jesus didn’t say “trust me I won’t let anything bad happen to you.” He said (as we went over in Day 6) “trust me in ALL things.”
So his love drives out fear because we know he loves us IN THE GOOD AND THE BAD. His love drives our fear because we know we can trust him to care for us just like a father does. I protect my kids and guide my kids, but this world brings pain upon them anyway. And in those moments I drive out their fear with comfort and strength. Our God is the same.
So let his love drive out fear in your life. Let the knowledge that the God of all things LOVES you individually, and is working on your behalf no matter what!
God let me know your love more fully, and trust your guidance more completely.