Fear cannot just be thrown out, ignored, let go. I’ve tried, and know I cannot do away with fear on my own. I’ve tried to trust God, work hard, but so many times I have acted or reacted out of fear and self-preservation. The verse, found in 1 John 4:17, states,
For a number of weeks now, I have been contemplating the thought of perfect love casting out fear. Recently, the idea came to me in a new way through a sermon by Rob Davey in the series, the Father Heart of God: https://sites.google.com/site/jubileesolihull/home/podcasts. In his sermon, Rob Davey makes a point that helped me see the verse in a way that hit me profoundly:
It is perfect love that throws fear out. It is only God’s love that can give me the ability to truly let go of fear. This has led me to dig deeper into 1 John 4:15-19, longing for more love, more of God, no fear.
In 1 John 4, the word “love” appears 27 times, 3 times in verse 18. Here, love is defined as “affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love.” I looked up perfect. It refers to “wanting nothing necessary to completeness, mature.” These definitions of “perfect love” tell me God’s love for me is full of affection and feeling, lacking in nothing, complete.
Next I looked up “fear.” It means, dread, terror, that which strikes terror.” Fear is the opposite of love.
The new revelation for me came when I looked up the meaning for “casts out,” (G906 in Strong’s concordance). It means to throw, to pour out, or “let go of a thing without caring where it falls; to give over to one’s care, uncertain about the result.” WOW! So does this actually mean that experiencing this perfect love would enable me to face the thing that strikes terror within, and entrust the fear of it to God to the extent that I no longer care or need to know the result, because I experience God’s love for me so deeply, so completely? How is this possible?
I look further into the context of the passage. In verses 13-16 the word “abide” appears 6 times, referring to abiding in God and His love. It means “to remain, to continue to be present, to be held, kept continually, to remain as one, to wait for.” I am literally taking that to mean:
That is how: God’s love for me, in me, abiding in me. Please may it be so God! This kind of love is experiential. 1 John 4:16 (NRSV) says,
Bernice Hopper is leading a 5-session study based on the sermon series above that includes art journaling the Father Heart of God