“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
1 John 4: 18
On Monday in this Holy week we began to think about how Jesus is absolutely relevant. Today I want us to think about this in relation to fear. Fear in one sense is our natural response to danger and in as much is incredibly important; who would not want to realise the threat of a grizzly bear! Fear in other ways can be debilitating and damaging to our lives, health and relationships when it grips us and is out of control. I believe we all know and experience this sort of fear at times in our lives. A study (*) in 2018 showed that 91.4% of worries did NOT come true for those suffering from high anxiety. I’ve heard of similar studies and statistics and know this to be true in my life (False Expectation of Actual Reality). When faced though with real dangers, such as COVID 19, how are we to react, how does Jesus help?
God is love (vs.8) and He has demonstrated His love for us by sending to us Jesus His Son (vs. 10). Jesus has shown His love for us by giving up His life for us (vs. 10) and by so doing enabling His Spirit to live within us (vs.13 & 15). To receive Him we simply need to believe in Him and have faith (vs. 15) which means we can then ‘know and rely on the love God has for us,’ (vs. 16). As we get to know God and His love it is harder for fear to dwell in our hearts and minds because this perfect love drives it out (vs. 18). This because we know that we have eternal life (John 3: 16), that God is working everything out in accordance with His will (Ephesians 1: 11) and because He has already determined our days in this world (Psalm 139: 16).
So our reaction needs to be proportionate and wise, being sensible in what we do (Psalm 32: 9), but without letting fear control us. Instead we put our trust in God through Jesus and look at the situation from His perspective; we see the reality of our circumstances in the light of eternity. This means trusting Him, preaching His promises to our hearts and especially our minds and not filling the latter with too much material that evokes fear. Prayer and the bible are essential in this approach and Christ utterly vital. Living for God and not for ourselves is key; our motives can drive fear or welcome peace (the latter if we trust God’s sovereignty rather than our control). Know the Lord, know His love and banish that fear!
To Ponder: Meditate on today’s passage (1 John 4: 7-21); how much does God love you? If fear is in your heart pray on these verses and promises of God: Psalm 27: 1-2; Isaiah 41: 10; & Matthew 8:17. Trust God and let His perfect love drive out that fear
Prayer: Praise you oh God for you are the God of all compassion and comfort who comforts us in our troubles. You Lord Jesus suffered for us so that we might know the love of God. As your sufferings flow into your lives so also may your comfort that we are enabled to comfort others. Lord God take hold of our right hand and let us hear you say, “Do not fear I will help you.” May your perfect love drive out our fears. Amen
(From 2 Corinthians 1 3-5 and Isaiah 41: 13)
*Exposing Worry’s Deceit, 2019: Lucas S. La Freniere Michelle G. Newman
Incumbent at St Aidan's Anglican Church,