Fear is a decision.
Granted there are extenuating, harmful, terrifying experiences in which the feeling is inflicted onto people. That isn’t the type of fear I am referring to here.
I’m referring to the fear of making a decision, joining a team, speaking up about what you believe, pursuing your dreams etc. I am referring to fear surrounding the life you’d like to build for yourself.
1 John 4:18 NIV says, “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.”
The word love translates to “agape” which refers to affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love, or charity. I love that another definition is a “feast of love.”
Think about that visual for a moment. Picture yourself walking into a room filled with either the people who love you the most or the things you love the most. Imagine God inviting you to feast on that emotion. Picture that feast–it’s powerful enough to drive out fear. I believe that God is that never ending ocean of love for us. We can get so wrapped up and lost in Him that we don’t have the time or care to entertain anything that doesn’t feel like divine love.
Matthew Henry says the following in His commentary on this verse, “so far as love prevails, fear ceases. fear is known to be a disquieting torturing passion, especially such a fear as is the dread of an almighty avenging God; but perfect love casteth out torment, for it teaches the mind a perfect acquiescence and complacency in the beloved, and therefore perfect love casteth out fear.”
Here he discusses how the fear of God that the law promoted at the time, prompted people to obey God out of trembling fear and dread. People obeyed God because they didn’t want to deal with the consequences of disobedience. John in the chapter is encouraging us to have a healthy view of what it means to fear God. We should have respectful reverence of Him because we understand His might, but we should feel comfortable loving Him because we understand His heart. The proper expression of love enables us to view God as our beloved who knows best for us.
I believe it is from this same place that we can take on the fear that comes to attack us in the world. In his commentary on 2 Timothy 1:7, Matthew Henry says, “God hath delivered us from the spirit of fear, and hath given us the spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. The spirit of power, or of courage and resolution to encounter difficulties and dangers;-the spirit of love to God, which will carry us through the opposition we may meet with,”
I love this point: “the spirit of love to God will set us above the fear of man, and all the hurt that a man can do us;”
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Tim 1:7
Fear will knock on the door of your heat, but you have the opportunity to embrace that you’ve been set above fear by then hands (and design) of God himself. Next time you feel worry beginning to stir in your heart, take a look at your position. Is your soul currently cowering or confidently resting. When you’re confident that God will carry you, you don’t fear the darkness/storms that will surely come.
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- Comment below: What practical things can you do to remind yourself that you are victorious over fear?