Week 2 – Day 14
After battling fear since my early childhood, I had repeatedly heard the scripture 1 John 4:18 “Perfect love casts out all fear.” Unfortunately, the normal follow-up misquote of this verse kept me bound up in condemnation “If you still have fear, love isn’t perfected in you.” For years I would berate myself, longing to be free from fear and wondering what I was doing wrong that love wasn’t perfected in me. Others didn’t have the fear battles I did, so they must have a greater faith and their love was more perfect that mine, or they had a better grasp of God’s love in its entirety. Essentially my mind screamed, “You have fear, so you have failed.”
Wow! What a perpetual battle! The reality is that this was misquoted to me for YEARS! This scripture is powerful and has the ability to rid you of the greatest weapon fear will use against you – separation from God the Father.
Let’s read it together, breaking down thoughts of condemnation from revealing God’s true message of freedom and protection from a loving Father:
1 John 4:15-19 (AMPC)
15 Anyone who confesses (acknowledges, owns) that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides (lives, makes His home) in him and he [abides, lives, makes his home] in God.
- Condemnation—If you feel fear, you must not be confessing enough.
- Truth—You accepted Christ as your Savior, GOD LIVES and makes His home IN YOU!!!
16 And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him.
- Condemnation—You feel fear, you don’t believe. If you really had faith in God you wouldn’t have this battle. You must try harder.
- Truth—We can TRUST the love God has for us. He actually calls it the love He “cherishes” for us.
- Synonyms for cherish: adore, hold dear, love, dote on, be devoted to, revere, esteem, admire; think the world of, set great store by, hold in high esteem; care for, tend to, look after, protect, preserve, keep safe.
- Does that sound like a Father God who is disappointed in you for a lack of faith? Those synonyms for cherish describes the love that this chapter is about; a pure, powerful love for us that can be depended upon.
- Truth—This power-packed love is God and God is this love. When we hang onto Him and this love, God from the inside out infuses us with this fear-eradicating love. (Verse 15 – He lives inside of us.)
17 In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world.
- Condemnation —If you were close enough to God, you would have perfected love. We should be just like Christ was when He was here; He overcame fear. If you feel fear, you must not be like Christ.
- Truth—The more we focus on His love for us, the deeper our revelation of its purity and power grows in our minds. Perfect love is what He is and what is provided for us, so we do not have to fear an angry, taskmaster God. Instead we have an assurance and boldness that He lives in us and we are facing this battle of fear in His power not ours.
18 There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].
- Condemnation —Why are you afraid? It is because you aren’t mature enough, love is not complete in you. Where have you failed in your love walk? What are you doing wrong? Your imperfect love walk is why the devil is allowed to attack you.
- Truth—God’s love doesn’t bring us fear. Remember in 2 Timothy 1:7—The Spirit God gave us isn’t a spirit of fear, but power and LOVE! Since God’s love doesn’t bring us fear, His perfect love must do the opposite – it must remove fear and drive it out.
- Have you ever seen a child who is afraid of a small dog? They turn around and look for their parents, running full force into their arms. When their parents pick them up they may even look down on that tiny dog barking up at them, but they aren’t afraid anymore. Why? It is because they are safe in the protection of their loving parents. They do not fear that their parent is going to allow that dog to hurt them and they trust that if that dog is dangerous their parent is more powerful.
- Truth—The more you understand how much God loves you the less fear will hold any power over your thinking. Your trust in Him will grow and your dependence will become complete. The enemy can yap just like that dog but you will be safe within the protective arms of God and His promises. Your focus will be on your parent and not the enemy.
19 We love Him, because He first loved us.
- This scripture is usually forgotten when this passage is being misquoted. It is such a powerful truth though.
- Truth—God’s love starts this all. It isn’t at all about our perfection.
- He loves on us.
- We learn to trust a good Father .
- Our love goes back to Him with each new step of dependence on this love.
- We have freedom in love with no focus on fear.
You see, these scriptures should never cause us to draw back from God. Rather they were meant to reveal to us how deeply we can trust Him and fall back on His strength in every single situation that comes at us.
We have spent this week concentrating on God being the parent we can trust implicitly. Now that we have settled it in our minds we can move forward into the tools He has provided for us to overcome the enemy. Remember as you go forward, this victory is all based on HIS LOVE for YOU, not your perfection in any way. Christ did it all and His love means that YOU ARE QUALIFIED TO LIVE IN ALL THE BENEFITS CHRIST PURCHASED FOR YOU!!
Let’s get to it! Victory is here!
How has your view of God the Father changed this week? Does He seem more approachable? This is just the beginning of your intimacy with Him. The beginning of living in Him and His approval.