Love that Casts Out Fear
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“Perfect love expels all fear.” Couldn’t you use some fear expulsion? … We fear rejection, so we follow the crowd. We fear not fitting in, so we take the drugs. For fear of standing out, we wear what everyone else wears. For fear of blending in, we wear what no one else wears. For fear of sleeping alone, we sleep with anyone. For fear of not being loved, we search for love in all the wrong places.
But God flushes those fears. Those saturated in God’s love don’t sell out to win the love of others. They don’t even sell out to win the love of God.
Do you think you need to? Do you think, If I cuss less, pray more, drink less, study more … if I try harder, God will love me more? Sniff and smell Satan’s stench behind those words. We all need improvement, but we don’t need to woo God’s love. We change because we already have God’s love. God’s perfect love.
Perfect love is just that—perfect, a perfect knowledge of the past and a perfect vision of the future. You cannot shock God with your actions. There will never be a day that you cause him to gasp, “Whoa, did you see what she just did?” … God knows your entire story, from first word to final breath, and with clear assessment declares, “You are mine.”
What you do may stun you, but not God. With perfect knowledge of your imperfect life, God signed on. … See what perfect love does? It drives out the fear of judgment. In fact, it purges the fear of the day of judgment. As John wrote, “So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we are like Christ here in this world.”1—Max Lucado2
Faith versus fear
The two greatest sources of fear and worry are the past and the future—remorse over the past or fear of the future—and God’s Word forbids us to worry about either. If you’re in the Lord, then you’re His child, and you don’t have anything to worry about.
Worry is a sign of fear, and fear is not faith. “Fear hath torment,”3 and lack of faith can be a terrible, frightening thing. But faith in God, trust in God, gives you a feeling of rest of body, peace of mind, contentment of heart, and spiritual well-being. It’s faith that keeps you from worry. It’s faith that keeps out fear. “Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in Me.”4 The beginning of faith is the end of worry! If you’re trusting the Lord, you know He’s going to take care of you and you don’t have to worry.
“God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”5 So to the only wise God our Savior, commit your way, your life, your mind, your thoughts, your time! “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee.”6 His shoulders are broad enough to carry any load!—David Brandt Berg
Abiding in His love
“By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”—1 John 4:17–187
“By this” is a reference to what precedes in v. 16b: “God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” So, “By this,” namely our abiding in love so that we abide in God and He abides in us, “love is perfected with us.” John said as much in 4:12: “If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.”
Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes, “To dwell in love is the final proof of the fact that God dwells in us and that we are in God.” It could be said that God is a person’s home, and as most folks desire home above all places to be, the Christian desires God above all things…
How is love perfected in believers? Through trials, tribulations, and persecutions. Christians are tested by other people. Will they love those who hate them and do evil to them? Or will they return evil for evil or store up bitterness? Will they serve their fellow man and nurture others, or will they simply fill their heads with doctrine and be cold in their affections?
It is clear that the good work that God began in His people, beginning at salvation, is a work that God will perfect over time until the day of Christ Jesus.8 This means that the ultimate purpose of salvation is not for the believer to just die and go to heaven but rather that God has an ongoing purpose in salvation. After all, following salvation most folks live on and are encouraged by the Scriptures to grow in their faith—to grow in holiness … Over time God’s love is perfected in them—through all kinds of people problems.
One of the certainties revealed to anyone who reads Scripture is that everyone will face their Judge on the day of judgment following their death. For unbelievers, this is a dreadful day, and most refuse to even think about it. Believers in Christ, however, have nothing to fear, for “perfect love casts out fear.” In fact, they have “confidence in the day of judgment” because God’s abiding presence in their life has perfected their love over time. As God is, so are His people—perfected by love! Believers know that their sins were judged at the cross and that God continually abides in them. This is evidenced by their faith in Christ and love for each other…
Therefore, if perfect love casts out fear, let us as God’s people make certain that we fear nothing this world can throw at us. If our time on earth is known to God—from the day of our birth to the day of our death—what is there to fear for those who love God? Nothing! In fact, every single day is worth rejoicing in, for the love of God is being perfected in us, making us more and more holy.—Dr. D. Lance Waldie9
Published on Anchor March 2019. Read by Jason Lawrence.
Music by Michael Dooley.
1 1 John 4:17.
2 Max Lucado, Come Thirsty (Thorndike Press, 2005).
3 1 John 4:18.
4 John 14:1.
5 2 Timothy 1:7.
6 Psalm 55:22.
8 Philippians 1:6.
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