Fear... Yes, I know about fear!
It has been my tormenting companion until I met Jesus, and even still, I must, in His power, bid that old enemy be gone all too often.
During my childhood, fears abounded. I was afraid of thunderstorms… the boogey man under my bed… the darkness… all those little night noises that creak and whisper… the list goes on and on.
As I grew older I began to fear bigger things. Perhaps I would contract some deadly disease; perhaps a fire would destroy our home while I lay sleeping; or perhaps my husband would be killed in a car accident on His way home from work.
However, of all the fears which bound me, there was one monster-of-a-fear which held me in its deadly grip, and left me frozen and helpless.
Oh, people can be ever so frightening. You see, I can’t get inside their heads to see what they are thinking. I can only wonder what is behind those blank looks? What does that frowning expression mean? What are they thinking? Did I say something wrong again? Am I acceptable to them? How do I measure up in their opinion?
Don’t we all experience those wild fears? I think everyone knows about that relationship-destroying monster… the fear of man. We tend to make people so big in our minds.
Of course, you and I both know that big people can only mean that we are worshiping a God who is far too small. I guess sometimes we forget that simple little verse which speaks volumes, if we would only take the time to think about it: “Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made the heavens and the earth!” Psalm 124: 8 (NKJV)
Profound! The One who spoke this universe into existence is our ever-present help in time of need! Don’t you think He’d be capable of helping us in the midst of our greatest fears?
Scripture also gives us a very specific remedy for our fears. It is found in the simple, four letter word: LOVE.
“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.” 1 John 4: 18 (NKJV)
So how can we go about casting out fear with love?
Well, I have a two-fold answer. First of all, we must abide in Christ. Only when we abide in Christ can we experience the love of God; and only when we experience the love of God, can we begin to overcome those giant fears.
I just want to take a moment to look at the love of God—I know I won’t do justice to it, but there is something about it that must be understood if we want to use it to cast out our fears.
The love of God is a “regardless” kind of love. God loves His children in spite of us. No matter how often we stray from Him, No matter how often we sin against Him, He forgives again and again. Do you remember how Peter denied Jesus? How the disciples forsook Him during His hour of need? And yet He forgave, and continued to hold out His unconditional love to those faithless friends of His. He is still the same today—ever holding out His hands to receive us back to Himself.
This brings me to the second part of the answer to how we can go about casting out fear with love. (I am thinking specifically now of the monster-fear of people.)
Well, if God saturates us with His “regardless” kind of love, then what kind of love do you think we will show to those around us?
Exactly! We will be able to love people, regardless of who they are, how they respond, what they think of us, or how they’ve treated us.
You see, all that stuff doesn’t matter anymore…it’s irrelevant. Why should it matter? My God has loved me with His everlasting love, regardless of the way I’ve once rejected Him! If He could love me that way, it means that I am secure in Him. My life now has a purpose and meaning which mere humans can never give to me. I have been accepted by Him, the great King of this Universe! I belong to Him as His own child. He loves me in spite of my unloveliness.
Dear friend, the immense love of God has a way of shrinking people down to size. When God becomes everything to us, our need for acceptance and affirmation from people diminishes. As people shrink in size, so does our fear of them!
The deeper we go into the love of God—the more we get to know Him, the less value the things of this earth become. Our once wild fears have become overshadowed by the great love of God.
I love the following scripture verse, because it encompasses so many of our common fears.
“For I am persuaded that neither death (fear of dying)
Nor life (fear of living)
Nor angels nor principalities (fear of the supernatural world)
Nor things present (fear of present circumstances)
Nor things to come (fear of the future)
Nor height (fear of heights or flying)
Nor depth (fear of the ocean and drowning)
Nor any other created thing (fear of people, spiders, snakes…)
Shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 38-39 (NKJV)
Dear one, Nothing, nothing, nothing can separate you or I from the immense love of God which is in Jesus Christ our Lord! He has become permanently linked to us; No circumstance or person or demon can sever that bond of love.
We are reminded in 1 John 4: 18, that “He who fears is not made perfect in love.” When I fear, I can just picture the apostle John shaking his wise head at me. I can hear him telling me, “ You are not made perfect in love, my dear sister. You still have more to learn about the love of God. You must sink yet deeper into His depths. If you fully understood His love, you would not fear anything…ever!”
Oh, to grow deeper into the love of God! Our love will not be made perfect on this side of eternity, but as we sink into those “heavenly billows of love”, we will most definitely see our fears shrinking.
I am reminded of the story of Jesus walking on the water, and the disciples were afraid, thinking He was a ghost. His words to them?
“Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Matthew 14: 27 (NKJV)
What beautiful words! With the knowledge of who He is, we begin to realize that our fears are unfounded, for we know that no matter what the circumstance, it cannot sever us from His love.
© 2006, Lisa Pennings
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