1 John 4:18 – “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.” NKJV
The more I examine the words of Jesus, as found in the Gospels, the more I realize how powerful and problematic fear is in the lives of believers and non-believers. Some have suggested that, in the Gospels, there are 125 times when the LORD issued something as an imperative. He instructed us to “love others” and many other directives. The number one theme in the Gospels is appears is found in a variation of the words “do not be afraid”, “fear not” and “have courage” which we find 21 times.
We know that LOVE is a central tenet of Christianity but the power and problem of fear is so great that our LORD focused on it more than He did love. FEAR as John tells us in 1 John, “has torment”. FEAR causes paralysis and encourages one to draw back, hold back or slink into the shadows in hiding. FEAR keeps us from loving as God loves because we are afraid of being hurt. FEAR makes the risk greater than the reward and immobilizes us causing us to draw inward and not let others get too close.
FEAR negates generosity highlighting the possibility of lack and creates a scarcity mentality which leads to a spirit of poverty and miserliness. If we fail to give freely and cheerfully we close the door to blessings in our lives. Remember that Jesus said in Luke 6:38, “Give, and IT will be given unto you good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put in your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” FEAR says, “If I give there will not be enough to care for my own family and needs” and thereby shuts the windows of heaven.
FEAR is contagious. I have witnessed fear spread through people like a wildfire and a deadly disease. FEAR, in a sense, creates spiritual amnesia and we forget the good things and the blessings of the LORD in our lives. We forget to remember! When fear takes over “security” becomes our god and we dare not venture outside our safe parameters. We become hesitant and unwilling to venture out into the deep and cast our nets for the unknown brings horror to our hearts. We cannot get out of the boat and walk to Jesus because of Fear. FEAR negates faith and paralyzes potential.
FEAR is incredibly powerful in our human lives and Jesus recognizing the problem instructed us to guard against it and encouraged us to “look heavenward”. He repeatedly promised to be with us. The question is which will be most powerful in our lives, FEAR or FAITH? The answer to that question is demonstrated in our actions not just our professions.
God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day He has created.