1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…”
One implication of this verse is that, in order for fear to take root in our lives, it has to cast out—or at least obscure—perfect love.
What is Fear? I would suggest that Fear happens when we believe in a future that is stripped of the love of God in Christ. We may still give lip-service to Christ and to the Gospel and to all things working for good, but if Fear has taken root in our lives, it is because we are believing the Christ-less vision of the future that Fear paints for us on the canvas of our imagination.
Fear paints a future where we suffer, where we have loss, where our loved ones go away, where sickness or weakness or insufficiency descend on our families—and all of these things MAY INDEED come. However, when Fear paints its image of the future, it conveniently LEAVES OUT one thing: that ALL that comes to the disciple of Christ comes as an expression of the love of God in Christ (Rom.8:39)…..that EVERYTHING we have, will, or can face, has already been borne in love—and so transfigured to love—by our Lord and God on the cross (Is.53:3-4, Rom. 8:31)…..that, in Christ, God Himself will meet us in, hold us through, and be the end of WHATEVER may come into our lives (Is.43:1-3)…..and that ALL THINGS will be woven into the good of God’s people and the glory of His Name (Rom.8:28)……These things Fear consistently leaves out when it paints a vision of our future.
And so, we fall into the grip of fear when we see the Christ-stripped painting of the future that Fear has made for us and when—instead of rejecting that vision as a lie—we believe it. When we live in the imaginary, Christ-less nightmare world that Fear projects for us, we fall into fear.
May we be given the grace to reject the false futures that Fear fashions and instead, may we believe the dying and rising love of God on Calvary. May we believe the true future, our blood-secured future, the future WHO IS Christ, crucified and risen. As we do, fear will be cast out by the perfect love of God in Christ, the love by which we are loved and from which we love those around us.