There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…
-1 John 4:18
This may be my favorite verse. I have always struggled with fear. When I was young I was afraid of so much– the dark, getting lost, heights, crawly and creepy things. My sister would watch terrifying movies and coerce me into watching them with her. I would have nightmares for weeks. I still get freaked out thinking about them.
As I’ve gotten older my fears have evolved into deeper, darker places. Fears of always being alone in life. Fears of not being good enough. Fears of making a fool of myself. Fears of death.
When the author speaks of perfect LOVE driving out fear he is referring to the ultimate of fears, condemnation from God. He finishes the line by saying that “fear has to do with punishment.” And God has, through perfect LOVE, done away with that punishment once, for all.
“Therefore there is now no condemnation in Christ”
So if there is no fear in LOVE, no fear in God. Then why am I still so afraid? The obvious answer, the most terrifying part of all of it, is that perhaps God is not in me. Hence the Spirit seeking journey I’m on. To find that perfect LOVE I need to connect to the Holy Spirit- who has been promised to me.
Sometimes we feel these things- these fears and failings- and we are too afraid to be honest about them. As if somehow being honest about our truest selves somehow makes it more true. I’m always afraid, I need God to make me fearless. I need God to make me bold. The kind of fearless bold child that LOVES without holding back, that is LOVED without fear of condemnation.
I don’t know why I was born so fearful, but perhaps the transformation that God can do in me will be all the more miraculous for it. If perfect LOVE casts fear away, then how I long to understand and keep LOVE always. To not fear to be who I was made to be, who I’m being made into.
Hillsong Worship has a beautiful song called “The Power of Your Love” and the lyrics to the first verse and chorus are:
Lord I come to You, let my heart be changed renewedFlowing from the grace that I found in YouLord I’ve come to know the weaknesses I see in meWill be stripped awayBy the pow’r of Your loveHold me close, let Your love surround meBring me near, draw me to Your sideAnd as I wait, I’ll rise up like the eagleAnd I will soar with You Your Spirit leads me onIn the pow’r of Your love