One of my favourite scriptures is “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18) It’s become my mantra over the years.
I’m a fan of the summer: I love sitting outside and feeling the heat of the sun on my skin. There’s a feeling of contentment and peace that can only be described as internal warmth.
Fear, for me, is the opposite of that. If love is like bathing in sunshine, fear is like being full of icy cold water. It’s that shiver that goes through you. It’s being frozen inside. Personally, I know that fear has the potential to hold me back from doing so many things in life that I really want to do. If I give into it, fear traps me.
Jesus often says to his disciples in the New Testament “Do not be afraid”. That phrase “do not be afraid” or “fear not” appears many times throughout the Bible. God knows us so well. He wins us by His love.
Fear leads to control, and love leads to freedom. We’ve all seen how politicians use fear tactics to manipulate the way the general public think and vote. People are afraid to speak out because of what others may say about them. With all this talk in the media about refugees, and the massive ‘explosion of compassion’ (as one newspaper put it) that we’ve seen, there has also inevitably been a rising of fear. People are afraid of the consequences of allowing refugees to find a home in our country. These may be complicated issues, and I’m not saying I have all the answers, but I know I’d rather be naïve and full of love than acting out of fear.
Love is more powerful than fear. Love results in action. People are moved beyond their own lives to impact those around them. That’s the love that Jesus was talking about. That’s why He tells us not to be afraid. This is His greatest commandment to us:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”
Perfect love, Jesus’ love, casts out fear. It doesn’t have to control us anymore. Let’s not be slaves to fear, which wraps around us and causes us to look inwards, instead of around us at this beautiful world God’s given us, full of beautiful people He wants us to love. Let’s not grow tired of reaching out, taking courage, and being Jesus’ hands and feet.