‘There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.’ 1 John 4.18
It may seem as if John is being a little harsh in saying that those who fear have not been made perfect in love. After all, we would all probably admit to feeling fear and anxiety at times. However, what John says is actually very encouraging – there is always more of God’s love to discover.
He is stressing that if we really knew the love of God there would be no fear whatsoever within us, and the very fact that we feel fearful means that we have not yet tapped into the full depths of God’s love. It must certainly be the Father’s desire that we really know his love so where do we begin?
When fear began to descend on Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14.33-36) he did not deal with it by dwelling on it or seeking to banish the darkness, but by coming back to the love of God. He spoke these words: “Abba, Father”. What a wonderful way to refocus on the truth. Allow these two words to go through your mind, simply and slowly repeating them. Let something of the love and tenderness of God reach into you as you speak to the Father with the same words that Jesus used when he prayed.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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