It’s a week after Halloween, and by this point, we’ve picked through all the good candy and are left stirring around the Laffy Taffy, hoping beyond hope that we overlooked a Snickers in the bottom of the bucket. Or is that just at my house?
We like Halloween, but it’s not just because of the chocolate. We like the idea of being scared. Not really scared, but a carefully controlled version of scared that gives us the jolt of adrenaline without any real risk. We control the boundaries and the dosage. It’s the reason we like scary movies, and it’s the reason we like thrill rides.
But real fear is a different story.
Real fear paralyzes us. Psychiatrists have labeled thousands of phobias. Counselors spend hours addressing anxiety in all sorts of forms. Fear interferes with our lives and our relationships. It keeps us from moving forward, from moving on, and sometimes from escaping because we’re afraid of the unknown. It even takes years off our lives.
Fear is as old as Eden.
Adam was given dominion over creation. Nothing could touch him. He had never known fear, nor was there anything to be afraid of. But the very first words out of Adam’s mouth after his transgression were, “I was afraid.” His was the terror of facing a holy God and having his sin exposed.
We’ve never gotten over that. To this day, we hide behind our accomplishments, our good deeds, even our reputations to keep from being exposed. We distance ourselves from anyone who might uncover our weakness. We flee intimacy from God.
Perfect love casts out fear.
You see, in the midst of our failures and fear of exposure, God seeks us out. He doesn’t wait until we come crawling to Him. He comes to us. He takes the initiative and meets us at the point of our frailty, not to upbraid or shame us, but to deal with our issues. He erases our sins. He restores the relationship and clothes us in His own righteousness.
We no longer have to fear.
In 1 John, the apostle talks a lot about God’s love. (A lot.) Consider Chapter 4:16-18 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 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.
God replaces fear with boldness. Boldness. In the day of judgment. If we don’t have to fear the judgment of Almighty God, what is there left to fear, really? The key is in verse 16. We have known and believed the love God has for us.
Love is the antidote to fear. It always has been.
Know His love. Believe His love. Trade in your fear.