by Joyce Meyer
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]. 1 John 4:18
In years past, when I read this scripture, I misunderstood its meaning. I thought it was saying that if I could reach the place where I walked in perfect love towards other people, I would no longer experience fear in my own life. I diligently tried to love others, but it seemed like I always fail. I could not even love them imperfectly, let alone perfectly!
I had a lot of fear in my life fear that manifested in insecurity and mental torment of every kind. A person, who is fearful, worries. He is anxious about many things. The past, the future, finances, what people think, etc., these are his constant companions, which literally bring torment. The King James version of I John 4:18 certainly describes fear accurately when it says that, "fear hath torment."
There are many evil spirits that Satan uses to make people miserable, but I personally believe that fear is the master spirit. Fear seems to be the root of most of the problems that steal our peace. For example, if we find ourselves uncomfortable in a group of people, it is usually because we fear what they think of us. If we are trying to control a situation and it is causing us to get into strife, it is often because we are afraid that we will be taken advantage of, if we don't control everything.
THE CONTROL ISSUE
Trying to control people, circumstances, and even God is a hard task. As a matter of fact, it is impossible. Out of fear, I spent many years trying to control everything and everyone. I was fearful of being hurt or taken advantage of, as I had been in the past. I had not yet learned about "perfect love that casts out fear." I was busy being in charge of everything being the great choir director of my life. The Holy Spirit wants to guide, direct, and control us. If we allow Him, He will direct us into great blessings for our lives. We are to operate in self-control and give the Holy Spirit control of our lives, but we should never try to control other people. Satan uses manipulation and control to get his way, but these are not the methods that God's children should use to get what they desire.
We are to trust God, pray about what we want, and believe that He will do the best for us at the right time. This is difficult to learn because all too often our experience with people teaches us not to trust. We must learn that people and God are not alike. All people are imperfect and even those who try not to hurt others, occasionally do. How can imperfect people love us with perfect love? If they could, we would have no fear. Our fears concerning people being hurt and disappointed by them, would be ended.
Because the emotional pain of rejection, judgment, betrayal, criticism, etc. is very real and devastating, we naturally avoid it once we have experienced it. It seems that people fall into one of two categories, they either withdraw in fear and live lonely lives where they avoid close relationships, or they do what I once did. They want to have relationships, but they can never really develop proper ones because of all their fears.
They end up controlling, manipulating, and being angry a lot. In general, their lives are frustrating, because much of the time, they truly don't know what is wrong. They are reacting out of old wounds rather than acting on the truth of God's Word.
THE CURE FOR THE INSECURE
Insecurity is said to be an epidemic in today's society. There are so many insecure people trying to have relationships with other insecure people. We find a very high percentage of this kind of relationships, which the world calls dysfunctional. This simply means they are not functioning properly.
Most people are raised in dysfunctional homes. They go out into society and continue the dysfunction, and each generation adds to the last one's problems until society becomes increasingly more dysfunctional. There is, however, an answer. His name is Jesus Christ.
When Jesus said in John 14:6, ...I am the Way..., He not only meant that He was the Way to the Father and the Way to heaven, but I believe He also meant that He was the Way out of every wrong and messed-up situation.
If invited, Jesus can get into the middle of dysfunctional lives and make them functional again. He restores, renews, redeems, reconciles, and refreshes. Jesus is "re" everything. The prefix "re" means "to go back again, or to return to the starting place". Our heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, intends to get us back to the place, where Satan messed things up, and to give us a new beginning.
If we repent, He removes the reproach of the past, gives us a full recompense for our past hurts. Yes, Jesus is the only Way.
Why should Jesus help us in this manner? He does it because He is love because He loves us. He is God's love gift to us. Jesus is the manifestation of Perfect Love. Only Perfect Love can cast out fear. One thing, we need to concentrate on and seek God for, is a revelation about the love He has extended towards us.
Very few people have a deep and abiding revelation concerning the love of God. I believe God wants me to tell you that He loves you very much. That may sound simple, but it is the most powerful thing you can believe. When we know (without doubt) the perfect, complete love that God has for us, it will cause fear to lose its grip on our lives.
LEARNING TO ABIDE IN HIS LOVE
The word, abide means "to dwell in or live". It does not refer to "visiting". It refers to staying or remaining. I don't visit my house; I live in it. We should learn to live in the love of God. I John 4:16 in the Amplified translation brings out the point that we should become conscious and aware of the love God has for us. The knowledge of His love should not be some biblical fact to which we mentally assent, but it should be a daily living reality in our lives. This scripture says we should observe it and experience it.
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 God, God dwells and continues in him. (I John 4:16)
I was so desperate for a revelation concerning the love of God, that several years ago I began to keep a journal of the things He did in my life that I believed to be a display of His love. No matter how small they were, I recorded them. This process helped me to become more conscious of His love. I needed to dwell in God's love because I needed a lot of healing. I was insecure and fearful, and I have found out that the love of God is the cure for the insecure.
When people gave me things, I recorded it. When I was shown favor in situations, I recorded it. When God answered prayers and did things for me that I had requested, I recorded it. Many of the things I recorded seemed rather childish, but they were helping me become like the little child Jesus said we should be a child who is trusting, humble, lowly, and loving.
I believe God is showing His love for us daily in many different ways, but because we have not trained ourselves to be "conscious of His love," we miss what He is doing. His love is there, but it is not a reality to us. Therefore, it does not benefit us, as it should.
Paul's prayer for the church, as recorded in the book of Ephesians, indicates how very important it is that we have a deep revelation concerning how much God loves us. Paul could have prayed for anything. He could have prayed for them to have power, to do miracles, to exercise authority over the devil. But Paul prayed for the church to be rooted deeply in God's love.
Paul knew that was the starting point the place from which every point starts the place from which everything else grows. Power, miracles, victory, authority are all based on our being secure in the fact that God loves us.
May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God's devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [that you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! Ephesians 3:17-19
These scriptures make it clear that we need to experience His love not just have head knowledge, but a deep revelation, and that the roots of our being should be "securely" planted in His love.
THE FEAR OF LACK
There are endless varieties of fear, but one of the tormenting fears that many people suffer from is the fear of lack. They fear that their needs will not be met that God will not come through in time.
Hebrews 13:5-6 gives great comfort to those in this situation. Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you [Assuredly not!]
So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?
You may be in a situation right now that you have never been in before. You may be facing new responsibility that you don't know how to handle. You may have needs that are beyond your resources, and the spirit of fear is attacking you and telling you that you are not going to make it. You may feel all alone in your situation, like nobody cares, but God cares about you!
When God says in these scriptures to be satisfied with your present circumstances, He does not mean that you cannot desire change. But we should be content in Jesus, knowing that He has heard our prayers and believing that He will never fail us. We must learn how to enjoy where we are on the way to where we are going.
God is a God of progress. He is never standing still. Even when it seems to us that absolutely nothing is happening in our lives, God is working behind the scene on things that He will manifest at exactly the right time. God is Life and life must flow, otherwise it is no longer life. Dead things stagnate and no longer move, but life is always moving, stirring, making progress.
Beloved, God has a good plan for you, and He will manifest it right on time. Fear not, God is with you and He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will not leave you without support! If you need financial support, He will provide. If it is physical support you need, He will sustain you while you are waiting for your full manifestation of healing. If you need emotional support, He will comfort you with the kind of comfort that only the Holy Spirit can give. He will nourish you and bring you back to a place of strength in every area of your life. God is for you. He is not against you. Satan is against you, but God is for you. The greater One lives in you!
LET NOTHING SEPARATE YOU FROM GOD'S LOVE
Romans 8:35-39 speaks to us about difficult times and how important it is not to allow them to separate us from God's love. I have discovered over the years that His love sustains me in times of great trial and stress. During hard times, Satan works overtime trying to convince us that God does not love us that if He did, either we would not be in this situation, or He would have delivered us by now.
I affirm out loud from my own mouth the truth that God does love me during these attacks of fear. I encourage you to say several times a day with authority, "God loves me!" Don't allow the devil to steal this truth from you.
Ephesians 6 speaks of wearing spiritual armor during demonic attacks. One piece of that armor is the belt of truth. The Amplified Bible states that we are to tighten the belt of truth during attack. That means the truths we have learned from God's Word must be held onto tightly during trials.
Let me close with these scriptures from Romans 8:35-39 and I pray that they will comfort you right now; Who shall ever separate us from Christ's love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword?
Even as it is written, For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.
For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As long as you refuse to let anything separate you from God's love, you will have the victory.