1 John 4:18 - Love and Fear Dont Mix!
1 John 4:18 - Love and Fear Dont Mix!
1 John 4:18 (ESV) There is no fear in love, but perfect love
casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears
has not been perfected in love.
1 John 4:18 (CWR) Fear and love just dont go together. Love
dispels fear because fear focuses on punishment and wont let love
mature. The one who is afraid of God does not understand Gods love.
1 John 4:18 (MSG) There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed
love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life"fear of
death, fear of judgment"is one not yet fully formed in love.
INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW
Two Basic Fears
Psychologists are at pains to point out that fear is
different from anxiety. Fear has a specific object, whereas anxiety is a
vague and unspecified apprehension.
What, I wonder, is your biggest fear? Benjamin Rank, a social
scientist, says that there are basically two forms of fear: the fear of
life and the fear of death. The fear of life is the fear of having to
live as an isolated individual. The fear of death is the fear of
losing individuality. He says: "Between these two fear possibilities,
these poles of fear, the individual is thrown back and forth all his
The first fear"the fear of life"is vividly illustrated by
a small boy's comment: "I suppose the reason for twins is because
little children don't like to come into the world alone." The fear of
life makes many retreat into illness. It is a refuge from
responsibility. Freud found the cause of neurosis in the past"in childhood;
Jung, a disciple of Freud, found it in the present. He said: "I ask,
what is the necessary task which the patient will not accomplish?"
Backing out of life's responsibilities through fear of life is a major
cause of problems.
But with many, it is the fear of death that paralyzes them.
Our verse today reads, in speaking of Jesus, that He is able to
"free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of
death" (Heb 2:15). Is it necessary to live under such servitude? Of
course not. When Christ has all of you, then fear can have no part of
you. It is as simple as that!
Father, I am so thankful that You have made it possible for
me not to be enslaved by fear. I can be free, gloriously free"and
free now. Touch me in the deepest parts of my being this day and set
me free from all and every fear. In Jesus' name. Amen. [Every Day
With Jesus Bible with Selwyn Hughes devotional re Hebrews 2:15]
Love is evidence of salvation. If you are born of God through
faith in Jesus Christ, you have His nature within (2 Pet. 1:4). Since
"God is love" (vv. 8, 16), His children who have His nature should
also manifest His love. The children should be like the Father!
Our love for others makes God's love real and visible to them
(v. 12) so we can better witness to them about Christ. It also makes
God real and personal to us. Merely reading in the Bible about God's
love is not enough. Seek to experience that love in your heart by
sharing it with others.
Just as truth is victorious over lies (vv. 1-6), love is
victorious over fear (vv. 17-19). As you mature in your love for God, you
realize that you have nothing to fear, for your Father has everything
under control. You trust those you love, and faith and love will give
victory over fear. [Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary by Warren
Human beings are full of fears. They nag us during the day
and sometimes keep us up at night. They almost always seem
reasonable even when they are completely irrational. They come from a
multitude of directions and get energy from a multitude of past
experiences. We have an almost endless capacity for asking "what if? and
thinking of negative answers to the question.
But how about these "what ifs"? What if we were completely,
thoroughly loved by a being who was full of extravagant love and capable of
doing whatever He wants? What if this being was constantly watching
out for our best interests whether we perceived Him doing so or not?
What if He was always by our side whether we sensed Him or not? What
if He loved those of us who believe in Him so much that we could
not possibly fail beyond repair even if we tried? What if we were so
secure in Him that all our fears were unfounded?
The promise of Scripture is that all these things are true.
These aren't hypothetical possibilities; they are reality. All of
God's promises are "yes" and "amen" in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).
The Kingdom culture is a place of no fear because the King's
presence eliminates all dangers. Sure, we can rebel and run away, and
then we have plenty to fear. And sure, we have a fear of God that
overwhelms us with His majesty. But fear of anything ultimately doing
damage to our well-being while were in His presence? That's totally
unreasonable. The perfection of His love precludes any fear we might have.
Live in freedom from fear. Jesus came not only to deliver us
from sin but also to deliver us from the fear that so often lies
behind our sins. Our insecurities do not serve us well, and the love of
the Father makes them unnecessary. We are completely, forever safe
in Him. [The One Year Heaven On Earth Devotional by Chris
The Highest Dynamic in the Universe
George Macdonald describes love as what is most precious in
the Godhead. He writes that love is "a higher thing than the making
of worlds and the things in them." He says this in exploring the
many implications of the first chapter of John with its reference to
Christ: "He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything
through him.... The Word gave life to everything that was created, and
his life brought light to everyone" (NLT).
For MacDonald, the deepest essence of God is the dynamic love
between the Father and the Son.
We find plenty of scriptural support for that, including 1
John 4:8, which states it simply and plainly: "God is love" (NLT).
The mystery of how we could be drawn into this love goes far
beyond our grasp. Yet the way Jesus stayed in constant prayer to his
Father gives us a clue. The astounding promise that we can become
children of the heavenly Father means we can pray as Jesus prayed and
invite his Spirit of love and truth to become dynamic in us.
If we are to be like Jesus, we will naturally love the
This comes, of course, with requirements. Obeying his Father
cost Jesus the Cross. To obey our loving heavenly Father may cost us
many things, starting with our self-will and our natural bent to run
our own lives without interference. Praying like a child means
obeying like a child, with both love and respect.
MacDonald emphasizes that Jesus loved the Father with his
whole being. As his redeemed children, we are now from "the same birth
home" as Jesus. His Father is our Father. What a wonderful reality to
Loving Father above, fill my mind and heart, I pray, with the
realization and conviction that you are love and that you love me. Pour your
love into me that I might, in some small way, love you back as Jesus
does. [The One Year Book of Encouragement by Harold Myra]
Ole Hallesby describes our times of prayer when the Spirit
works in us as wonderful times of rest we can anticipate with joy. He
also says the time of prayer should be not only a resting place but
also a workshop.
Power and grace from heaven come through prayer, and Hallesby
urges us to avail ourselves of what God wants to give. He paints a
picture of Jesus after his ascension to heaven, reaching his arm so far
down to us that we who are small and sinful can reach it every time
we pray. "Whenever we touch his almighty arm, some of his
omnipotence streams in upon us, into our souls and into our bodies. And not
only that, but through us, it streams out to others."
When Hallesby gets specific about prayer's workshop
practicality, it cuts close to the bone: "We should say to God as we mingle
with our dear ones each day, 'God, give them each thy blessing. They
need it, because they live with me, and I am very selfish and
unwilling to sacrifice very much for them, although I do love them.'"
Whatever we may feel about that self-indicting prayer, his
prediction that such prayers would bring "a good spirit to our homes" rings
Hallesby points out something we'll seldom admit - we
sometimes make critical remarks in our minds about people we see. He
challenges us with this exhortation:
"Just think if the Spirit of God could make the new nature
within us so strong that we would automatically lift our hearts in
prayer to God every time we met someone."
Instead of critical thoughts, we would pray God's blessing on
others. "Wherever we go," Hallesby says, "we meet people who are in need
of something. If the Spirit could give us that open eye of love, we
would turn to the Lord and tell him the needs of both our friends and
of our enemies. That is how he would like to have us pray."
Father, as I meet people today, help me to see them with your
eyes. I pray for your Spirit to love them through me. Instead of
judging others, help me to pray for them. [The One Year Book of
Encouragement by Harold Myra re vs. 19]
What a remarkable thing that we can rely on the love of God.
How amazing that we get to experience that love because all who live
in love live in God and God lives in them. That love does not
originate in us but in God's love for us. Our love for God is not perfect
or complete, but his love is perfect and complete and as we abide
in him by his Spirit, our love will grow more complete. In all our
trials we can know that God loves us more than we can imagine. This
love rescued us from darkness and brought us into his marvelous
light. This love covers all of our sins. It will equip us to stand
before the Lord on the Day of Judgment with confidence, not with fear.
This love is so powerful that with it we can live victoriously and
fearlessly because "perfect love expels all fear." Take a few moments to
meditate on the love of God and to draw near to him in thanksgiving and
Lord Of Love, thank you for first loving me! As we live in
you, our love grows more complete. Although I don't understand all
the trials I may go through, I trust in your love for me. Help me to
abide in you. Fill me with your perfect love that casts out all fear
so that I can live in confidence and rest in you and share your
amazing love with those around me. [Praying Through The Bible by Fuller
re vv. 16-18]
Do you avoid getting close to others for fear that if people
know what you're really like, you'll be judged or rejected? Or maybe
you fear that your fellow Christians expect you to live up to a
higher standard of faith and holiness than you can manage.
God's answer to that fear is love. God enables us to love the
fear out of one another.
We drive fear from our communities by loving one another so
supportively that each person feels safe to open up. This safety allows us to
bring our joy and pain, our victories and defeats to others.
Take a step to create community or deepen the one you already
have with family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers. For instance, be
a safe person for others by supporting them when they suffer
setbacks. Take a courageous step of vulnerability by being open about your
own ups and downs. Trust that God will use your openness to
encourage others. Ask him to drive out your fear and alleviate the fears
of others as you offer his love.
Let God's love be at the center of your relationships,
chasing away fear. [The Daniel Plan 365-Day Devotional]
EXAMPLES AND ILLUSTRATIONS
Sometime in my early twenties, I woke up one night with a
strange sensation: panic, fear, utter helplessness. This was the early
eighties, and I didn't know that the strange thing happening to me was a
panic attack. I did the only things I knew to do"pray and sing. I
flipped on my bedroom light and reached for my Bible. Although I didn't
understand the source of this terror, I did understand this: God's perfect
love casts out all fear. I prayed and quoted Scripture for several
moments, and the sense of fear and panic went away.
Off I went to college, where I enjoyed the life of a sorority
girl while sidelining my relationship with God. Once I graduated,
though, I wanted to change, to be serious about God and about loving
him. I moved to a new town and took a job that would fulfill one of
my lifelong secret dreams"to travel.
I was to go from California to Maine, Canada to Venezuela,
Ireland to Australia. But the fear"a paralyzing claustrophobia this
time"struck again. The idea of spending hours on an airplane only heightened
my panic. But I knew I couldn't give in. I had to trust and
believe. I would literally sit on a plane repeating Bible verses to
myself until the panic subsided.
During long international flights, in strange cities where no
one spoke my language, my only choice was to rest in God's Word and
his love. In a way, those panic attacks were a great gift. They
drove me to depend on God alone. I found a strong church family who
prayed for me. I had some soulish and spiritual housecleaning to do,
but Jesus' perfect love delivered as promised. No longer do I live
Rachel Hauck - a worship leader and the author of Georgia on
Her Mind, Lost in NashVegas, and several other novels"lives in
Palm Bay, Florida, with her husband, Tony, a pastor. [The One Year
Bible Live Verse Devotional]
One of the things I struggle with on a daily basis is fear.
It might be the fear of disappointing someone, the fear of failure,
or the fear of making a costly mistake. I've found that when I give
in to fear, it can cripple me and keep me from moving forward in my
recovery as well as in my life.
The tricky thing is that we can't trust fear. Think about how
fear is like the darkness. When we go into a dark room, we can't see
a thing. Even though we might know the room well, once the lights
are out, everything seems different. We imagine that things are
jumping out to trip us as we shuffle around trying not to run into
something and hurt ourselves. In reality, nothing has changed except our
perception. The furniture is right where it was; the doors haven't moved.
It's the same room it was with the light on. It's just that the
darkness distorts things.
Fear does the same thing. It distorts our perceptions, making
us lose our sense of reality and focus on "what ifs. Most of
the things we fear aren't real at all; just figments of our
imagination. When the truth comes in, it illuminates our minds, just like
turning on the light in a dark room. Truth comes from God's Word. So why
live in fear when we can open our Bibles and turn on the light?
Lord God, fill me with your truth as I read Your Word. I want
to live in the light. In Jesus' name, Amen. [Celebrate Recovery
Daily Devotional by John & Johnny Baker re Psalm 107:13]
Suppose you had a friend who was in serious financial
trouble. What would you do for that person? Would you help bail him or
her out or give financial counseling? What if your friend's problem
was health related? Or worse, what if your friend was in trouble
with the law? How far would you go out of your way to help this
In this reading, John illustrates how far Jesus went to save
us from our serious spiritual trouble - sin. Through Jesus'
sacrifice, we see what true love really is. As John points out, we now have
a standard against which to compare our love for others.
Jesus loved us so much that he gave his life for us. His
death on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins came as a result of
his love. His selfless, sacrificial gift models how we should show
love to one another (1 John 3:16).
To love someone means to be like Jesus to that person - to be
selfless and to give sacrificially. Loving this way ignores all the
enticements that normally compel us to be nice to people, such as the
personal benefits we may gain from doing so. Also, loving others as Jesus
did may not feel good all the time. This kind of love regards
others' welfare above our own, and it may cost an awful lot (pride,
possessions, time, money). It may cost everything.
If you truly want to reach out to others, extend to them what
God extended to you: unconditional love. [The One Year Through the
Bible Devotional by Dave Veerman re 1 John 3:11-16]
I am the Gift that continuously gives ~ bounteously, with no
strings attached. Unconditional Love is such a radical concept that even
My most devoted followers fail to grasp it fully. Absolutely
nothing in heaven or on earth can cause Me to stop loving you. You may
feel more loved when you are performing according to your
expectations. But My Love for you is perfect; therefore it is not subject to
variation. What does vary is your awareness of My loving Presence.
When you are dissatisfied with your behavior, you tend to
feel unworthy of My Love. You may unconsciously punish yourself by
withdrawing from Me and attributing the distance between us to My
displeasure. Instead of returning to Me and receiving My Love, you attempt to
earn My approval by trying harder. All the while, I am aching to hold
you in My everlasting arms, to enfold you in My Love. When you are
feeling unworthy or unloved, come to Me. (1 John 4:15-18; Deu. 33:27;
Psa. 13:5) [Jesus Calling by Sarah Young]
I Myself go before you and will be with you. So do not be
afraid; do not be discouraged. I, your loving Savior, am also infinite
God! I am omnipresent: present everywhere at once. This makes it
possible for Me to go ahead of you - opening up the way - without ever
leaving your side.
The promise of My Presence is for all time. No matter where
you go or what circumstances you encounter, I will be with you. This
is the basis of your courage and confidence. Though fear and
discouragement may sometimes slink into your heart, this is not their rightful
home. Your heart is My dwelling place, and those hurtful emotions are
not from Me. In fact, My perfect Love casts out fear. So check your
heart from time to time, to see if fear and discouragement are
loitering there. If you discover those unwelcome intruders, ask the Holy
Spirit to function as a bouncer and boot them out! Then, encourage
yourself with My promise to go before you and be with you - and let My
perfect Love renew your hope. (Deu. 31:8; Eph. 3:16, 17; 1Jo. 4:18)
[Jesus Today by Sarah Young]
Let My love seep into the inner recesses of your being. Do
not close off any part of yourself from Me. I know you inside and
out, so do not try to present a "cleaned-up" self to Me. Wounds that
you shut away from the Light of My Love will fester and become
wormy. Secret sins that you "hide" from Me can split off and develop
lives of their own, controlling you without your realizing it.
Open yourself fully to My transforming Presence. Let My
brilliant Love-Light search out and destroy hidden fears. This process
requires time alone with Me, as My Love soaks into your innermost being.
Enjoy My perfect Love, which expels every trace of fear. (Psa.
139:1-4, 23, 24; 1Jo. 4:18) [Jesus Calling by Sarah Young]
Seek to live in My love, which covers a multitude of sins:
both yours and others. Wear My Love like a cloak of Light,
covering you from head to toe. Have no fear, for perfect Love decimates
fear. Look at other people through lenses of Love; see them from My
perspective. This is how you walk in the Light, and it pleases Me.
I want My Body of believers to be radiant with the Light of
My Presence. How I grieve when pockets of darkness increasingly dim
the Love - Light. Return to Me, your First Love! Gaze at Me in the
splendor of holiness, and My Love will once again envelop you in Light.
(1 Pet. 4:8; 1 John 4:18; Rev. 2:4) [Jesus Calling by Sarah Young]
Walk with Me in the freedom of forgiveness. The path we follow
together is sometimes steep and slippery. If you carry a burden of guilt
on your back, you are more likely to stumble and fall. At your
request, I will remove the heavy load from you and bury it at the foot of
the cross. When I unburden you, you are undeniably free! Stand up
straight and tall in My Presence, so that no one can place more burdens
on your back. Look into My Face and feel the warmth of My
Love-Light shining upon you. It is this unconditional Love that frees you
from both fears and sins. Spend time basking in the Light of My
Presence. As you come to know Me more and more intimately, you grow
increasingly free. (Psa. 68:19; 1Jo. 1:7-9; 4:18) [Jesus Calling by Sarah
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