It’s probably safe to say that we have all experienced fear at some point in our lives.
Whether we grew up as a child with a fear of darkness or thunderstorms …a teenager with a fear of taking tests or peer rejection…or now an adult with a fear of failure or of the unknown future…the list of our fears can go on and on at every stage in life.
Fear is an unpleasant emotion that occurs in response to a perceived or real threat.
Fear may occur in response to a specific stimulus happening in the present…or to a future situation…which is perceived as risk to our health or life, status, power, security, wealth or anything held valuable.
In the Bible…God repeatedly tells us to not fear (Deut. 31:8, Isaiah 41:10). And He specifically says that He doesn’t give us the spirit of fear (2Tomothy 1:7).
So then why do we as Christians still experience fear?
Do you struggle with fear? What are you fearful of today?
For clarity purposes…the “fear” being discussed here is defined as “a feeling of being afraid”…not the “fear” often referred to and stated in the Bible as the “fear of the Lord” meaning “reverential awe or respect” toward God.
What is so fascinating to me is that God repeatedly declares over and over again in the Bible for His people to “fear not” or to “not be afraid.” Why?
Because God knows that we…even as His children…experience fear! He knows that we struggle with fear and therefore He continually encourages individuals in the Bible….and us… to “not fear” or to “not be afraid.”
So if God doesn’t give us fear…where does it come from?
Fear comes from the enemy…the devil…Satan…whatever you want to call him.
The biggest tool he[Satan] uses to mess with our lives is fear. Rick Warren, Pastor
Satan will use fear to enslave us…to paralyze us…to stop us from moving forward and ahead into the purposes that God has for our lives.
Fear is born of Satan, and if we would only take time to think a moment we would see that everything Satan says is founded upon a falsehood. A.B. Simpson, Theologian/Author
So how can we overcome fear in our lives? The answer is found in 1John 4:18.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.1 John 4:18 NASB
Perfect love! God’s perfect love casts out fear!
What does God’s “perfect love” actually mean? And how can this perfect love cast out fear?
The word “perfect” can be translated as the Greek word “telios” which means whole… complete…mature.
Perfect love is love that has been made whole…complete…mature.
A look at the preceding verses in 1John 4:16-17 can give us a better understanding of God’s perfect love.
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 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 live like Jesus here in this world. 1 John 4:16b-17NLT
Perfect love comes from God. He is love.
Check out what the following Bible commentaries have to say about God’s perfect love…
Love implies attraction, fear repulsion; therefore fear exists not in love. Love here means the principle of love in general; it must not be limited to God’s love to us, or our love to God, or our love of the brethren. Love and fear coexist only where love is not yet perfect. Perfect love will absolutely exclude fear as surely as perfect union excludes all separation. It is self-interested love that fears; pure and unselfish love has no fear. Yet nothing but perfect love must be allowed to cast out fear. Otherwise this text might be made an excuse for taking the most unwarrantable liberties with Almighty God. To cease to fear without attaining to perfect love is to be irreverent and presumptuous. Hence the apostle is once more pointing out an ideal to which Christians must aspire, but to which no one attains in this life. Pulpit Commentary
Fear has no place in love. Bold confidence, based on love, cannot coexist with fear. Love, which, when perfected, gives bold confidence, casts out fear. The design of Christ’s propitiatory death was to deliver from this bondage of fear. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
When we are filled with God’s perfect love…His complete love…fear is cast out. It’s not about just trying to force fear out of our lives through a positive mental attitude…but it’s about opening up to the free flow of God’s love that so defines and shapes us that fear is driven out.
The starting point is when our lives are totally given to God’s direction…and not our own.
I sought the Lord and He answered me; he delivered me from my fears. Psalm 34:4 NIV
We must continually seek the Lord. The more we surrender to God’s perfecting work in our life…the more complete we grow in God’s love.
It’s not how perfect your love is towards God…It’s how perfect God’s love is towards you. When you come to know just how much God loves you…the fear is cast out.
Do you know how much God loves you today? Seek Him and His perfect love today and He will cast out your fears.
- Do you struggle with fear? What are you fearful of today?
- Why do we as Christians still experience fear?
- Where does fear come from?
- How can we overcome fear in our lives?
- What does God’s perfect love mean?
- Many Christians experience fear because we have an enemy…Satan…who will use fear to enslave us…to paralyze us…to stop us from moving forward and ahead into the purposes that God has for our lives.
- Perfect love casts out fear. When we are filled with God’s perfect love…His complete love…fear is cast out. It’s not about just trying to force fear out of our lives through a positive mental attitude…but it’s about opening up to the free flow of God’s love that so defines and shapes us that fear is driven out.
- Perfect love is love that has been made whole…complete…mature. The more we surrender to God’s perfecting work in our life…the more complete we grow in God’s love.