Saturday – March 31, 2018
Scripture: 1 John 4:7 – 21
“This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 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 4:17 – 18
Along about the year 2000, I began experiencing intense feelings of panic. They seemed to come from nowhere and for no reason, and were uncontrollable. My heart would beat very fast; I would cry for no reason; I could not travel because of the speed and winding roads; there was always the feeling of impending doom – like I had to run, or hide, or whatever. I didn’t want to talk because it took every ounce of my concentration to fight this fear that had overtaken me! These anxiety attacks were infrequent at first, but by 2003, or so, they were often lasting all night and sometimes all day. My first line of attack was always fervent prayer. I knew I was in Christ and He in me, so how could this be happening?! I couldn’t share this with anyone, not even those who loved me most, because they would think less of me and assume that I had fallen away from God. Can you see my conundrum? So I suffered alone for quite a while. You may wonder why I did not consult a doctor about these symptoms – the answer lies in a scripture I had heard for years! “Perfect love casts out fear.” Surely it was my fault – if I had perfect love, I would not fear – right? I was sure it was a spiritual problem (though my heart did not condemn me) – so why would I consult a physician? Fast forward to the year 2008, or thereabouts, when my blood pressure read so high that it scared my daughter into scheduling an appointment for me with our family doctor. Long story short, a total wellness exam led to a diagnosis of Diabetes II. The change to a low carb diet, a loss of 50 – 60 pounds, some Diabetes Education, and the panic lessened by at least 50-75%! If I had only found out earlier, I could have saved years of misery and years of wear and tear on my heart and other organs which are adversely affected by Diabetes.
Let me tell you what I have since learned about 1 John 4:18 and other verses that talk about perfect love casting out fear – context, context, context! Here John explains carefully and thoroughly that because we have matured in a perfect love relationship between God and us, we no longer have to fear a coming judgment day. When you know for certain that someone loves you, you never need to fear what he/she may do to you, and THIS is the fear that perfect love casts out! As long as we live in this world, there will be situations that cause a natural fear – some of that fear is good and necessary, but not all. Just, please, as a child of God, try not to cause another child to stumble by quoting this 1 John passage out of context. It is a wonderfully reassuring passage describing: (1) How God demonstrated perfect (real) love by sending His only son to die for us; (2) If He loves us so much, we ought to love one another; (3) His Holy Spirit in us proves that we are living with Him and we can feel it; (4) as we grow more and more in love with Him, we are able to face the future with no fear of judgment (punishment) from God.
Truly, love comes from God and those who are loving and kind show that they are the children of God – We are to BE to others what He is to us – That is our purpose.