Fear is a liar. It doesn’t know how to discern truth from lie. It overwhelms and immobilizes. It creates chaos.
As with all automatic responses of the brain, fear has it’s place. It keeps me from walking too close to the edge. It keeps me out of the street. It makes me cautious at night in unfamiliar places. It has it’s place.
It also keeps me from vulnerability. It pushes me to believe that I am not safe with others. Worse of all, it convinces me to believe that I am not secure in the love of Jesus.
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. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.1 John 4:16-18
When I first became aware of this verse, I didn’t like it. You see, I knew I was afraid, afraid of not being good enough – of punishment. I couldn’t even experience God’s love correctly. And I tried harder. Exactly the opposite of what I needed to do. But fear has a way of doing that.
God doesn’t love me because I am good enough. He loves me because I am his daughter. He declares me perfect. He delights in who I am, after all, he put me together this way. I am enough because he said I am.
I still experience the tremor of fear at times. But I recognize it’s voice and am quicker to shut it down. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m moving in the right direction.
How about you? Ready for something different? Read the verse again. It’s a process – just like any kind of growth. The first step: put your trust in his love and let him grow it in you. He died for you and took the punishment that was yours on himself. It’s already been taken care of – you are free to relax into him.