Perfect love casts out fear…
Have you ever stopped and really thought about this statement. This phrase taken from
I John 4:18 ‘Perfect love drives (casts) out fear.’
Fear, whether we call it anxiety, worry, stress or nerves is a fairly dominant emotion in our 21st century world and we all experience it. It would appear that, according to research, it is ever on the rise, even more so in 1st world nations such as Australia than many third world countries.
So why are we seeing such a dramatic rise in this emotion?
Perhaps it is because we have lost connection with what love is – after all it is a word thrown about with abandonment. I love everything from orange flavoured lolly pops and coriander to my family. (I know very few of you probably share my love of coriander)
Perhaps it is because we don’t really know how to attain it or to be confident in having it. Pretty much every song and movie is testament to this.
Perhaps it is because we think of love as being connected to how we feel rather than to truth.
Love is to fear as light is to darkness. Darkness is the absence of light and when we turn the light on darkness disappears. Likewise, fear is the absence of perfect love; when God’s perfect love is present fear is driven out.
I know as I write this it sounds too simplistic and you may want to challenge it, particularly if you or someone you love struggles with fear. When we look at the fears that assail us, they are usually linked to punishment, pain or the expectation of something bad happening. We don’t usually feel fear when we are most conscious of love; in that moment we are usually experiencing acceptance, a sense of openness; safety and general wellbeing. When our mind, and our body is focussed on fear our capacity to receive and respond with
positive emotions or actions is hampered. We look at the world through fear shaded lenses and can’t possibly operate from a position of hope or optimism and certainly not from a place of rest. Fear steals from us our identity, our purpose and our relationships with others.
On the other hand, God’s love assures us of who we are, and our inherent value. God’s love stabilises our very core and enables us to look outwardly and to see the world as being full of promise rather than problems. God’s love is constant – it is not dependant on what we do and cannot be taken from us. It is lavish: without measure and is complete. God’s love is freely given and available to everyone. God’s love transforms us, equips us for our purpose and restores our relationships.
So why then, can we as people who know God loves us, experience fear? I would suggest it is because we haven’t yet learned how to remain connected to or conscious of God’s presence. Of course God never leaves us, but sometimes we are more aware of Him than at other times. Just as we practise Mindfulness of our circumstances and thoughts we need to practise being aware and mindful of God. When we are mindful of God’s presence we can operate from a place of rest, assured because he has promised us that we are full of his love and have everything we need for life. His love drives out our fear.
Shalom- peace, prosperity, safety, and wellness- become our norm.