Perfect Love Casts out Fear
We understand from scripture that love casts out fear. It is not just any sort of love that casts out fear. It is perfect love that does the job. What is this perfect love? And how can we be sources of perfect love for those around us?
The purpose of Fear
Fear is an incredible tool in the enemy’s arsenal. If you are afraid, you are less likely to stretch and reach for what God has in store for you. When fear has a hold of you, your view is blurred. Hope and fear rarely co-exist in harmony. One will always conquer the other.
Our prayer is that hope would conquer any fear in your heart as you read this.
God knows the effects of fear. As such he does not encourage us to be of courage. He commands us to be of courage.
Joshua 1:9 New King James Version (NKJV)
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
As he did with Joshua, he commands us to be strong and of courage. He goes on to give the reason why we are not to be afraid. “For the Lord God is with you wherever you go.”
Fear is often fuelled by feeling alone as if there is not a way out of a situation. Fear causes you to become unable to see your able aid. You become too focused on the threat, that you no longer see what God is capable of doing. You forget that he is there with you through the fire, and in that storm!
Remember the story of Elisha and his servant? When they were surrounded. The servant could not understand why Elisha was calm. He did not understand why he was not making a plan for an escape.
2 Kings 6:17 New King James Version (NKJV)
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
Fear puts blinders that will stop you from seeing your salvation. Fear eats at your faith and feeds doubt. May God open your eyes as you read this. Whatever has surrounded you, the mountain is full of horses and chariots of fire all around you!
1 John 4:18 New King James Version (NKJV)
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
What is this love?
There are a lot of ways to define love. We know that God is love. If we can agree that there is no imperfection or blemish in God, then we may say that God is perfect love. The love that casts out fear is modelled after God himself.
Which should lead us to wonder how God expresses his love. Fortunately, we have this question answered in scripture, through John 3:16 as highlighted below.
John 3:16 New King James Version (NKJV)
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
God loved so he gave.
God gave his ONLY. He gave his very BEST, his all!
In return is only asks that you would accept what he has freely given. How can we take this and apply it in our own lives to model perfect love?
The main thing we can consider immediately is that perfect love gives without expectation of a return. It is not transactional. If you give me this, I will give you that. It is I have given you that. It is yours to accept, or of course to refuse. And even if you refuse it, it has still been given to you!
Here’s how perfect love casts out fear
1 Corinthians 13:4-13 New International Version (NIV)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Love is patient
This is what perfect love looks like. It is patient. Another version says, “it is long-suffering”. When you give perfect love, there are no expectations. This puts the one you love at ease. They don’t have to bear the weight of expectation. There is no fear. Are you patient with the ones you say you love?
Love is kind
Patience and kindness go hand in hand. Kindness is doing good things for others without desiring a reward. There are no strings attached to your love. In a marriage, kindness is having no strings attached to your affection. You do things because you care.
No Envy No Boasting No Pride
This is another characteristic of perfect love. It comes without envy. When there is no envy, kindness becomes easier. You are willing to push another person’s cause even when there is nothing in it for you. You are happy to champion their success.
If you are higher or ahead of your loved ones, you are pulling them up or dragging them forward. Only because you want better for them. Pride and love can never co-exist. Perfect love is self-denial! It is sacrificial.