Scripture: 1 John 4:
17 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.
Observation: We all experience fear, but if we have the love of God within us, His love overcomes the fear and it can not destroy us.
Application: Fear is such a powerful emotion, it can make us do things we would never think of doing, and make us refrain from doing those things we know we should do. The early Christians had much to fear, there was persecution on every side of them and The Way in which they believed in God was so different and new that society thought they were doing a service to God by punishing, torturing and killing them. John tells them that if they have God within, His love will drive out that fear.
Are we really that far removed from them? Do we have less to fear today than they did? Perhaps things are not the same and our fears are centered on different problems than theirs, but I don’t think that our existence has become less stressful, we still have plenty to fear.
I don’t think John meant to teach that fear would never be there, or that if you are a true Christian you will never experience it. I think the teaching here is that even though there are plenty of things to worry you, plenty of things to stress you out, plenty of opportunities for you to be persecuted spiritually emotionally and socially, if you have God within His love can drive out the fear, stress and anxiety so that it can not destroy you.
This scripture speaks to me today because I know that I experience fear and stress in my life. But because I also know that God is with me, I have the assurance that these outside influences and problems that I face will never be able to get the best of me.
Prayer: God of Love,
Place within me your perfect love that drives out all fear. Forgive me for allowing myself to be overcome by the troubles of life and grant me the strength to endure and continue in the work that you have set before me.