There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1Jn 4:18)
Fear is a paralyzing power in the Christian life, and is the arch-enemy of faith. The fear that is described here is not the healthy fear of the Lord, but rather a phobia: an unwarranted baseless fear, and this is very unhealthy for a Christian. This kind of fear causes Christians to act in the flesh, and not walk by faith. It is based on how we have been conditioned to feel about a situation, and not what God said about it. This fear caused 10 of the 12 spies in Israel to bring back a bad report; it caused Elijah to run from Jezebel; and caused Abraham to lie about who Sara was to the king. It reveals an underlying insecurity in the heart of the believer. This insecurity is usually from some event(s) in our lives that create uncertainty, but the end result is the same: a controlling phobia that affects a Christian’s walk with the Lord, and when their walk with the Lord is affected, it impacts all other relationships in their life.
The natural mind thinks that if it can be in control, there is no reason to be afraid. Our heart may say ‘If I can’t have it my way, I don’t want it at all’, which translates into ‘If I stay in control I won’t get hurt’. But the truth is quite the opposite of what the carnal mind thinks: Real peace and security comes from surrender, from letting go of control and yielding to the Lord. God requires us to surrender to Him, and let Him control our lives. This is a fearful step for many believers, especially if they had past issues of misplaced or abused trust. Yet every Christian must learn that they can trust in their Saviour.
Our text verse says that ‘perfect love casteth out fear’. How does this happen? How can we overcome our own insecurities and phobias? Because our Saviour’s love for us is perfect! When we consider that God has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us, and that nothing can separate us from the love of God, it brings a peace and security to our soul that never existed before. It is the bedrock of the Christian life, and all other relationships in our life are built from that point.
There are times in our life that God may separate us from all others, just to prove to us that He is with us. Joseph, Job and Jeremiah were forsaken by all. But in their trial and affliction each one learned that ‘there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother’. In the day and hour we live in, we need to grab hold of that truth more than ever!
Paul wrote in the Hebrews “I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Paul could boldly write this because of the trial of his faith. Do we really trust God to solve our problems? Do we really believe He is there for us in our time of need? The Trial of our Faith will reveal it all.