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Author Topic: Perect Love Drives Out Fear--Purpose Driven Llife Devotional  (Read 3707 times)
artsymominnc
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« on: March 07, 2008, 12:49:04 PM »

Perfect Love Drives Out Fear
by Jon Walker



There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:18-19 HCSB)



*** *** *** ***


There you are, driving to the grocery store. You’re under the speed limit and following all the traffic laws, but then you notice a police car in your rearview mirror.


The policeman isn't flashing his lights; he’s not pursuing you; in a sense he's just like any other driver who might be following behind you down the road.


But he’s not just any driver. He’s a police officer, and so you tense up. You start thinking: Am I going too fast? Am I wearing my seatbelt? Did I signal properly when I changed lanes?


And then there’s the fear you’ll make a mistake right in front of the policeman. Now, the reality is that you’ve done nothing wrong, but the fear is there because no one is a perfect driver. He could pull you over for a variety of minor violations.


When fear enters any situation, we become defensive and less trusting. We focus on fairness and on protecting our rights. Consider what happens when someone brings fear into your environment – perhaps a fellow employee, perhaps a boss, maybe a family member or a friend. Their fear shows up as criticism, defensiveness, or manipulation, and it soon infects nearly everyone, pushing them toward self-protection – toward reactive decisions instead of thoughtful responses.


On the other hand, the environment also can change when someone shows up with an outpouring of God’s love. Love shows up as encouragement, as positive interactions. Because criticism is constructive, it is easier to receive. You know you are loved, so you know your mistakes and imperfections will not lead to your being rejected or labeled a loser. You’re less concerned about fairness because you know this loving person is looking out for your best interests, and as the environment becomes drenched in love, you begin to understand that everyone is looking out for your best interests.


The more you trust, the less you fear, and eventually this pure love – you might say perfect love – drives out your fears. This is the essence of the apostle Paul’s words: “There is no fear in love ….” (1 John 4:18 HCSB)


We are forgiven. We are loved by God, and we can rest in that truth. We can allow that truth to spread from our hearts to our hands, in service. Knowing that God is always loving us gives us the trust, the confidence, the faith to believe that God is working all things out for the good of those who love him and who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) We can approach God’s throne of grace boldly. (Hebrews 4:16)


Here is what I believe Paul is teaching: If you walk in fear, you’re trying to control life, rather than trusting in God’s love and letting him control you. Look through your fear and focus on God instead.


The thing is, if you have fear, you may be the person who brings fear into the room. Because you are less trusting, because you fear doing wrong, you may spark the fire of fear. If you fear others will take advantage, you will work to gain your own advantage.


Paul says, “The one who fears has not reached perfection in love.” But perfection in love doesn’t start with us – we can’t work ourselves up to perfect love. Perfect love starts with God: “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 HCSB) As we seek to be spiritually mature, it is God’s love that drives the fear from us. Then it is his love within us – when we trust his love for us – that moves us to love others.


What does this mean?


· Give God your fears – When you fear, tell God about your them. In other words, don’t nurse your fears or use them to justify fear-driven actions. Instead, go to God with your fears. Ask him to show you the root of your fears, and then ask him to work within you to remove the whole fear-tree – roots and all. ("I believe; help my unbelief.")

· Let God develop perfect love in you – Accept and respond to God’s perfect love for you. How would your life change if you were no longer controlled or motivated by your fears? Ask God to fill you with his love and to love other through you. ("I can’t; God can.")


· Pray for those who fear – When you see someone showing their fear through defensiveness, control, manipulation, gossip, or other such behaviors, pray for them. Pray they will allow God to drive away their fears, that they will receive and accept the perfect love of God, and, with that love within them, that they will begin to act in faith and not fear.


· Pray for our police officers – Lest anyone misunderstand my illustration about a policeman in the rearview mirror, these men and woman put their lives on the line constantly in order to protect and serve us. They are ministers of God, in that they maintain the peace. Pray for them and their protection, that they will be drenched with the perfect love of God.


© 2008 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved.
Pastor Jon Walker is a writer for www.GraceCreates.com
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