Fear, anxiety, and love


“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.” (1 John 4:18)

I am a very fearful person. I often feel as if anxiety is my predominant emotion, as I walk through my life avoiding conflict and difficult situations that, for some unknown reason, I fear will be the death of me. Never mind, of course, that typically when I have to face one of those situations, I find myself surviving unscathed, and even grateful that I went through it instead of working so hard to avoid it. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that I struggle with fear and anxiety on a daily basis.

In the apostle John’s first letter, he has many beautifully profound things to say about love, both the love we have received from God and the love we are to display towards one another. My favorite line comes in verse 18, where John writes that “the one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Our fear, he is arguing, reveals something about our understanding and acceptance of God’s love, for the one who fears has not yet been made perfect by His love. God’s perfect love has the power to cast out all of our fears.

Think about it: what are you afraid of? That something will go terribly wrong? Remember that God promises to work all things – even the terrible things – together for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). That you will be rejected and abandoned by someone you love? Know that God promises to never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Do you fear that you will not have enough money to survive or care for your family? God promises that if you seek Him first, He will take care of your basic needs (Matthew 6:33). Are you afraid that people won’t like you? Nothing can separate you from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39). Afraid that people will judge and condemn you? There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Are you afraid that you will be a failure? God’s love for you is not dependent upon what you can do or can’t do (Ephesians 2:8-9). Do you fear what the future might bring? God will fill you with hope as you trust in Him (Romans 15:13). Are you afraid of dying? Christ has been raised from the dead, and He will raise you as well (1 Corinthians 15:19-22).

There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear. God is perfect, and His love for you is perfect. As you come to know Him better and trust Him more, let His love remove your fears, banish your anxieties, and cause you to find rest and joy in Him.

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