I can’t escape the feeling that this needs to be written for someone out there today. I hope this speaks to you in some way.
Did you know that love and fear are opposites? Some might assume that the opposite of fear is courage, but that’s 100% accurate. Because in order to have courage, you have to have a purpose or a reason to face the fear and do it anyway — love is that reason. Why would someone go to war and face insurmountable fear? For love of country, or to protect dear loved ones.
I know I’ve talked about fear on this blog before, but today I want to look at it from another angle. Fear has the potential to go one of two ways. It can be fear that results in stopping you from being and doing all that God wants you to do (see previous post: “Fear”), or if you choose, you could allow the fear to result in wisdom instead.
To illustrate this point, I’ll share about my grandmother. I didn’t realize until I was much older that she basically lived in fear. I remember once I told her I was going to go to a week-long church camp one summer and she proceeded to tell me an awful story about some girl scouts who got raped and murdered in the woods while camping. …Ok. I was twelve. What was I supposed to do with this information? I told her the good news was that the camp we were staying at had hotel type rooms and I could lock my door, and that I trusted God to take care of me. I had already decided I was going to the camp and I wasn’t worried about it. My parents had already decided I could go. I was going! But looking back on that moment, I realized that she had allowed fear to dictate what she would or wouldn’t do in her life. Fear kept her home most of the time and her only window to the world was the news broadcast twice a day — which was a pretty grim window if you ask me. She had the type of fear that stopped her from living. But I took the warning she offered, went anyway, and used wisdom — by locking the doors — and not giving an opportunity to the devil — and not letting the devil rob me of an opportunity to do something that would impact the direction of my life.
Yes, we all know bad things happen in the world. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone tell me that before they were saved, they were just out looking for something bad to do. They didn’t know what it was going to be, but they were basically looking for trouble. That’s what I mean about not giving an opportunity to the devil. He’s got people out there looking for an opportunity to do something bad —our adversary the devil is out there like a roaring lion roaming around seeking whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8). So instead of being afraid of all the bad things that can happen, trust God and be wise. Lock your doors (yes, there are nuts out there trying doors to see if they’ll open), be aware of your surroundings, have your emergency stuff set up on your phone, carry mace, take a self defense class, etc. But don’t let fear stop you from living life.
Not to harp on the door locking idea, but when Shannon and I were first dating, he worked at Dillard’s in ladies’ shoes. He drove an old Dodge Diplomat and would never lock his doors … in the mall parking lot … at night …because he was often there after the mall closed, his car would be out there in the parking lot at night giving opportunity to anyone who might take a look through his windows. He had his radio stolen out of the car, he had suit jackets stolen … you would think he would start locking his doors after the first time someone took something, but it happened multiple times. (Turns out material things aren’t important to him! LOL it took me a few more years to figure this out, but he just didn’t care, and it never worried him or bothered him at all.) But you get my point — you don’t have to be afraid about bad things happening, but for what you can control, you can be wise and not make it easy for the bad things to happen. (I mean, yes, sometimes we can’t control when bad things happen and we can’t always stop them from happening, but that doesn’t mean you just leave your doors open to it either.)
1 John 4:18 says that perfect love casts out all fear. And 1 John 4:7 says that God is love. So that is how I came to the conclusion that love and fear are opposites. If fear is a device used by the devil to keep us from doing what we know we should, and God is love (perfect love) that casts out all fear, then they are at opposite ends of the spectrum. If we’re truly trusting God, we have absolutely nothing to fear. We don’t have to have courage, we just have to have love. Love for God. Love for God will keep us on the right path, trusting in Him and knowing that He will take care of us. So if there’s something holding you back from all that God has for you because of fear, allow the love of God to permeate your whole being. Allow yourself to be saturated in His love today and know that you are so special to Him. Read Psalm 27. The first verse says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?” !!! If God is your strength and your light, He is bigger than anything else in the entire world and there is nothing that can separate you from His love (Romans 8:31-39). Not even fears for today nor worries for tomorrow, no power of hell, no demons, NOTHING can separate us from the love of God. That’s powerful stuff. Did you read that in verse 38? Fear cannot even separate us from God’s love. If we can just grab hold of how powerful God’s love is (I mean, hey, He IS love, so love is powerful!!), then we will realize there is nothing on this earth that can do anything to us that God cannot carry us through.
I’d encourage you to read Psalm 27 and Romans 8:31-39 today (Ps 27:8 is my husband’s favorite verse, but that’s beside the point! LOL) Journal about how God is speaking to you through these passages. Are there areas you’ve held back because of fear? Are there fears that hold you back from doing what you know you should? Have you allowed fear to keep you from living life fully?