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Scared?

May 26, 2020

"... perfect love drives out fear..." I John 4. 18

 

Another giant which oppresses many people is fear. Fear manifests itself in many ways: lack of confidence, a variety of so-called "phobias", worries about "getting it wrong", a guilty conscience, conviction of sin and - in some situations - raw physical fear of death or injury or persecution. 

 

In the first of his three letters which appear in the New Testament, the apostle John addresses fear among believers in relation to God. He explains how fear is motivated by the dread of something bad happening - in this case punishment for sin. And his message is as profound as it is simple: that Jesus gave his perfect life as the once-for-all sacrifice for sin and so, for the believer who has put their trust in Jesus, there is no good reason to fear judgment. 

 

John emphasises his point in those wonderful words we often hear at baptisms: "We love because he first loved us." That is to say that God's love for us is not based on our lovely-ness or our performance. It is the other way around: our love for God and for one another and for Creation is a response to the original love of God - for us!

 

It stands to reason that the closer we are to God, the greater our experience of his love and the less vulnerable to fear we become. That need not only apply in terms of our relationship with God - for two reasons. In his letter to the church in Ephesus (chapter 1, verse 23), the apostle Paul refers to God as the one who "fills all things in every way". In addition, our lives are not made up of discrete parts but we are a rich mixture of personality, giftedness and experience which hangs together. So what is true in one area can apply throughout.

 

So, whichever manifestation of fear oppresses us, our intimacy with God is key to overcoming it (or them). Prayerfully share your fear with God and he will enable you to overcome it, immediately or over time. However it happens it will be just what you need because it is from God, who loves us perfectly and who enjoys absolute power and authority.

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