Love’s Knock-out Punch
Posted on December 28, 2022 by Elizabeth Welte in Victory Call
This verse has been swirling around my head for a week now so I thought I would share it:
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)
I never quite understood what this meant — I did understand from my own experience that “fear involves torment” – amen? But I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around the meaning of the verse. As a person who struggled with fear, I asked myself – does that mean I don’t love?
What is perfect love? I finally decided that it meant that when I understood God’s perfect love for me, I would not be fearful because I would trust His care and provision for me. I do believe there is much truth in that.
But I think there is another very practical truth here. I remember this verse coming to life for me one day when I was in the midst of a season of anxiety and my husband and I were having brunch with his siblings and spouses. I was there and enjoyed (to some degree) our time but the anxiety – the physical symptoms and nagging anxious thoughts – were never far from the surface. As we left the restaurant it started to go from a 6-7 to an 8-9; I could feel it rising.
Within a short time on the drive home, John started to have a diverticulitis attack and we needed to make an emergency stop at a Walmart. When I realized the situation my anxiety went from an 8-9 to about a 5 because my love and concern for him overrode my love and concern for me. In a sense, love ruled over my fear. Love cast out my fear.
Love is bigger, stronger and more potent than fear. So in a practical way I learned a lesson that day. When fear beckons, it’s time to ask myself “What can I do right now to love someone else?” That thought is not original with me – I’m pretty sure it is from Ed Welch’s book – Running Scared (i). If you or someone you know struggles with fear – this is a great resource.
I hope you noticed my intentional use of the past tense in the third paragraph — “As a person who struggled with fear…” By God’s grace and His work of sanctification in my life I have grown immensely in this area and have, to a large degree, walked in freedom. Perfectly? No. But I would say that in God’s goodness I would no longer characterize myself as given over to fear.
Would you or those closest to you characterize you as a fearful person?
Fear is a thief. It robs you of joy, peace, rest, strength, faith and hope. Seek to learn of God’s perfect love for you and seek to actively love others in your most difficult moments.
“I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)
(i)Ed Welch. Running Scared: fear, worry and the God of rest. New Growth Press. Greensboro, NC. 2007.
Written by Diane Hunt: Diane Hunt serves on the board of America’s Keswick and is the Executive Director & CEO of Changed Choices, a Christian non-profit in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!” Psalm 105:1