There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Often I go through a period of Bible study in which a theme takes on special meaning in my life. It is like God has held up a giant banner with words that have powerful relevance for the time and place in which I live. Sometimes these themes have lasted a year or more. In recent weeks the theme has been… “God loves me.”
It’s not that I didn’t already know that God loves me, but lately God has emphasized the precious power and magnitude of His love.
God wants us to do more than just know about His love. He wants us to be so immersed in His love that we rely upon it. “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.” (1 John 4:16) The light of His love is always burning and shining brightly upon us.
“God is love” (v16b) and His love is completely reliable. Think of those that you truly love…the ones you love from the depths of your heart. You would climb mountains for them…sacrifice for them…even die for them. They know you love them and that they can rely on you whenever they need help.
My sons know that they will always have their back. To the best of our ability we will always be there for them and help in any way we can. Of course, our help is limited to our available resources, yet nothing is impossible with God. God’s love opens the door to unlimited resources, wisdom, and knowledge for every need. You are His child and He loves you as no one else.
“Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (v16c) To truly know God’s love is to live in God’s love. When we give our lives to Christ we enter into a continuing and unending cycle of love. God loves us, we love others, and we love Him.
As our part in the love cycle grows in love for others and our Lord so does our confidence in our standing with God. “In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment because in this world we are like him.” (v17) Loving others and loving God locks in the blessed assurance that on the day of judgment things will be right between you and God. The result is something more than just head knowledge but also heart knowledge.
When we grow in love we take on an important quality of the character of God. “In this world we are like him.” (v17) Genuine love for others is god-like behavior.
Here is where this theme, God Loves Me, has really spoken to me: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” (v18) Life is filled with frightening events and circumstances. The older I get the more aware I become of the fragility and vulnerability of life on this earth. But I don’t need to be afraid because God loves me. I know His love. I know He loves me and I know I can rely on Him. No matter what happens and no matter how difficult the challenges I may face, my God loves me and cares for me.
Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. In fact, one test showed that, as my doctor put it, “you have cancer that is off the charts.” In those four months of testing I was never frightened or anxious. I just had confidence that my God who loves me had everything under control. Finally, my doctor looked at me and said, “I’ve seen many people with cancer and I know what it does to people. You don’t have cancer.”
“There is no fear in love.” (18a) When you come to that place in your life when you grasp the magnitude and magnificence of God’s love for you then you will discover this amazing truth: “Perfect love drives out fear.” (v18b)
Try this exercise. It has worked for me. When you hit a frightening situation, quickly turn your thoughts to God. Offer that circumstance to God in prayer. Turn it over to Him and then just think on His love for you. As you meditate on His love a most amazing thing happens. Your fear will disappear. Through the day whenever fear again rears its ugly head, repeat the process. I have never seen it fail. God’s “perfect love drives out fear.”
For more on this topic, check out this article: What It Means to Hope in the Lord
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.