Read: 1 John 4:16-18

Part Two

The kind of love God wants us to know is full of confidence. This confidence comes from knowing we lived like Jesus here on this earth. This perfect kind of love knows no fear. If we are afraid, it is because we fear punishment.

When life is going really well and all your dreams are coming true, fear that the rug is going to be pulled out from underneath you often visits. We fear punishment. Nothing can be this good.

When I am alone at night, fear that something bad will happen used to visit. I feared punishment. My thinking often went something like this: I am alone. Bad things happen. God can prevent bad things. God prevents bad things from happening to those he loves. Does he love me? Maybe not. Bad things happen… and on and on my mind went.

I had to learn that God loved me. He wanted me to experience peace beyond my wildest imagination. The enemy of my soul wanted me to know only deep, dreaded fear. He wanted me to be afraid of punishment. He wanted me to doubt God’s love for me.

I learned to replace the fear of punishment with words of grace, love and acceptance. I am a child of God. I am deeply loved. I have a great inheritance and a place at the table. I will never be alone. He watches over me.

Perhaps your fear is of dying. Not being certain if you got it right here on earth makes the transition to eternity a bit frightening. On your own, you won’t get it right. And there is no good work you can do to ensure eternity in heaven. Jesus said, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29) And in another place he said, “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him (God’s son). But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:18)

It sounds too simple and so we reject it and head down the trail of good deeds. And then our trust is in ourselves and what we can accomplish instead of in Jesus’ finished work on the cross. We have already proved we can’t say no to the devil and his schemes (See Genesis 3), so Jesus came to do it for us. Now we place our trust in him, and follow his commands. John said, “Loving God means keeping his commands, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve our victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5:3-5)

Perfect, confident love is available. Without fear of punishment, we are unstoppable in what we can do in this world. It gives us the ability to love others without reservation. It will change your world!

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