By: Raymond Harris
Regarding Scripture: First John 4.18
Note to the Reader
Generally as a new month begins, we have a new Bible book for our articles. However, it seemed appropriate that we use this month and take the time to look at items from the last two chapters of First John. As such, I encourage you to invest additional time reading the Epistle of First John in conjunction with this article.
As humans, we fear. We fear the dark. We fear that monsters might be under our bed or in our closet. Fear scares us. But we also like fear. We watch scary movies. We ride scary rides. We do things that challenge our fear factor. Some make a living by scaring others. Making crisis and “the sky is falling” moments profiting of someone’s fear of disaster. But none of those touch as close to home as one’s fear of death, fear of being wrong, or fear of not being right with our Creator. And yet some try to scare away their fear by saying about themselves, “Fear This.”
Fear Is Torment
Torment is a nice way of referring to “H E double hockey sticks.” Torment is anguish and agony; distress and suffering; pain and torture. Torment exists in the world – a physical and living form of the torment to come. It’s real, and it’s real painful. It causes us to lose sleep. It makes us have ulcers. It makes us depressed. It makes us scornful and bitter. And it can take our sanity.
Fear is from the adversary. Fear makes us cower. Fear makes us timid. Fear causes us to fail. Fear causes a person to defeat themselves. Fear is negative energy. Fear is death to the mind. Fear is death to a person’s will power. Fear is death to the conquering “we can do it” attitude. Fear believes in giants. Fear believes that the giants are strong. Fear believes the giants will win.
Fear prevents growth. Fear prevents maturity – physical, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional maturity. Fear keeps people from being reconciled. Fear keeps a husband and wife from resolving conflict. Fear keeps a parent from reconciling with their child. Fear keeps a community in turmoil. Fear keeps a church small and insignificant. Fear keeps a country from achievement.
Fear prevents one from speaking truth. Fear keeps truth hidden in fear of offending. Fear causes timidness in declaring truth. Fear keeps us at home in the safety of our house. Fear keeps us from trying something. Fear keeps us from exploring. Fear keeps us from living.
No Fear in Love
John spends much time in his letter talking about love. The importance of love. The need for love. The demonstration of love. The feeling of love. Love is much talked about in general. Seen in various places at various times and in various ways. Some love is emotional. Some love is intellectual. Some love is spiritual. Some love is physical. All God-inspired love is beautiful.
Love does not fear expressing its godliness. Love does not fear being exposed to the pain of others. Love does not fear being hurt by others. Love does not fear truth. Love does not fear death. Love does not fear love. Love does not fear aging. Love does not fear people.
Love does not fear change. Love does not fear challenge. Love does not fear to lead. Love does not fear sorrow. Love does not fear pain. Love does not fear depression. Love does not fear rejection.
Use and abuse is from fear. Love does not use or abuse. Love does not abuse God. Love does not abuse Jesus. Love does not abuse oneself. Love does not abuse others. Love does not abuse truth.
Love does not remain the same as it was yesterday. Love grows each day. Love has open arms to truth. Love is strong. Love reconsiders and reevaluates. Love learns. Love teaches. Love cares. Love shares. Love endures.
“Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not think evil. Love rejoices in truth. Love never fails.”1
Love Casts out Fear
Love is the opposite of torment. Love is contentment and gratification; delight and enjoyment; bliss and happiness. Love is powerful. Love moves the world. Love stands up to fear. Love defeats fear. Love conquers death, decay, and distrust.
Love tells fear to take a hike. Love casts out despair. Love replaces sadness. Love dispels gloominess. Love removes misery. Love does away with hopelessness. Love triumphs the melancholy. Love overcomes insecurity – emotional, intellectual, physical, financial, national, and spiritual insecurity.
Love invests itself. Love proves itself. Love strengthens others. Love encourages others. Love finds a way. Love wants others to succeed. Love finds delight in truth. Love finds enjoyment of sanity. Love finds the bliss of happiness.
Love loves God. Love loves Jesus. Love loves oneself. Love loves others. Love loves truth. Love accepts growth. Love accepts challenges. Love fears no one. Love fears no truth. Love fears no giant. Love fears no thing.
Love believes anything and everything is possible. Love forgives. Love forgets. Love is strong. Love is bold. Love is not afraid of taking the world by storm for God.
In a world where people fear walking for fear of breaking a bone, love chooses to run instead of taking timid steps – because Christians have been made perfect in God’s love. Fear Not! God’s love allows us to face the unknown, accept the challenges and become more. God is powerful. God is truthful. God is love.2 Nothing he does is for our detriment.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.”3
May God strengthen us and mature us in Love. “We love him, because he first loved us.”4