“God is love…and as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the Day of Judgment, but we can face Him with confidence because we are like Christ here in this world. Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that His love has not been perfected in us.” (1)
Those who know God best trust Him most. We live with certainty, firmness and resolution when we are resting in perfect love. God’s perfect love drives all fears away. What does perfect mean? Perfect does not mean a sinless, flawless existence but it is confidence in the face of God’s judgment. We are moving towards completeness and wholeness, coming into maturity as we embrace God’s love. God’s judgment is one kind of fear but there are other kinds of fear too. What are these other fears that drive us to despair? How do we define them?
Fear can show itself in the fear of judgment as mentioned, or it can be a reverential fear that is set apart for God alone. But another kind of fear arouses emotional distress, such as trembling fear that acts as a warning to alarm us of impending danger. You can be afraid of a certain situation whether it is real or imagined; it can create anxiety, mistrust, suspicion, and worry. Fear can be disabling, it can stifle or weaken faith. It can zap vitality out of living. The wrong kind of fear shows a lack of faith, and we are commanded not to fear.
“Have I not command you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (2)
I remember the fear of apprehension as I waited for the verdict for the man responsible for killing my son. As time pressed on, I became more and more immobilized, fearing the outcome of the trial. I was afraid of how that would affect me and my family. Just the thought of it overwhelmed me. Inside I felt torn apart by my loss, how could I survive what lay ahead? I needed to learn how to cope with my fears. God was strengthening me and teaching me my hope was in Him, not pending fear.
In relief I sigh, six years have passed, court procedures are over and all has been said and done. It was gruesome and painful yet, in it all, I was never alone; Jesus walked through it with me.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.” (3)
O Heavenly Father, awaken my soul to Your presence. Chase away any fear by knowing and resting in Your love. Thank You for drawing me near to You. Amen.
1. 1 John 4:17-18 It’s Alive niv 2. Joshua 1:9 nas 3. Isaiah 43:1b-2 nas