1 John 4:18-19 reminds me that fear and love cannot exist in the same place. Christ came to cast out fear, and He did just that when He rose from the grave.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.” NASB
The beautiful lesson this week was that I must choose whether love or fear will rule my heart. Fear wins by default if I refuse to choose, and I lose the love, joy, and peace God so wants for me. Love causes fear to flee from me, and that changes everything. Fear is at the heart of all that keeps me from loving and being loved as God desires. Insecurity is a particular type of fear that forces me to miss out on life. It’s insidious nature causes me to second guess myself and worry about how others will see me.
Love frees my heart and lets me see and love myself, flaws and all. Security isn’t having it all together or having it all; it’s accepting what is and not letting what isn’t keep me from living the abundant life God has in mind for me. My need for approval has been debilitating because I’ve focused far too much of my energy on getting attention and approval from others. God is always paying attention, and He approves of His creation. He doesn’t expect anything but love from me, and that comes out of my imperfection.
Flaws are part of who I am. God made me flawed so I could understand my need for Him. The desire for perfection was the downfall of Satan, and my pursuit of it will cause a similar downfall in me. I see myself as not needing God or too flawed to deserve His love. He loves me as I am and uses my flaws as tools for teaching and growing me into His disciple. Only one of God’s children was perfect, and I am perfected by Christ’s precious and perfect love. Being perfected is not the same as being perfect. Christ satisfied all the requirements for my salvation when He expressed love in a way that makes no sense to the world. I don’t have to be perfect because Christ is perfect for me.
God’s love is perfect, and it casts out fear. Walter Brueggemann says in his commentary on Genesis 2:4b-3:24, “Perfect love casts out fear. But the man and the woman in our narrative learned another thing. Perfect fear casts out love and leaves only desire (cf. Gen. 3:10) Paul also held the vertical and horizontal together: In Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself,…and he gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Cor. 5:18-19)” That helped me to see fear and love in a new light and understand the story of the fall in a way I never have before.
Fear flees from love. God’s love embraces my flaws. An amazing lesson if I ever had one!! Thanks be to God for His Son’s precious love.