top of page

Fear and its Antidote: Part 1

“Perfect Love drives out fear…” -1 John. 4:18

I doubt this is going to be a shocking statement for many: We are a society that is less defined by our joy and more by our fear.


Many of us are afraid.


In fact, for a lot of us, most decisions we make throughout the day are driven by fear.


Fear is a sneaky, “behind the scenes” kind of thing that lies at the root of things like anger, lust, gossip, greed (just name a deadly sin).


But what if our fear could be gone?


Like….actually gone.


Or, at the very least, what if our fear was put in its rightful place? So that it no longer controlled us or dictated our decisions?


Do we think that’s even possible?


Now, I’m not talking about the healthy kind of fear, the kind that fills our bodies with adrenaline so that we can run from a full-grown Siberian Tiger who is sprinting towards us.


As a human, this is a really good kind of fear to have.


And I’m not talking about the clinically diagnosable disorders that we call anxiety & depression. These things are real, medically verifiable issues that often require the aid of medication, counseling, etc.


The fear I’m talking about is the kind that we have brought onto ourselves, the kind that we choose to live in every single day, the kind that we had an active (or passive) hand in allowing to master us and enslave us for far too long.


It’s hard to define, but it’s the “I know it when I see it,” kind of fear.


So, if today we saw a news headline that read “new Fear Antidote now available at Walgreens,” I imagine there would be a line out the door that would rival that of a Disneyland “E-Ticket” attraction during Spring Break.


Now, everyone has their own opinions about “Best Practices for getting rid of their fear.”


(Or, at the very least, managing their fear, for those that don’t believe their fear will ever fully go away).


I’m simply here to offer an option that I have experienced in my own life, and one that the Bible affirms is trustworthy and verifiable.


The antidote to fear is, as the passage above indicates, Perfect Love.

Most of us have some conception or idea of what love is. But what is Perfect Love? (This has not been addressed in the myriad of “love” songs written in the past 100 years).


Well, Perfect love is actually not a “thing,” but a process. It’s a series of stages or movements that end with love reaching its full potential (being perfected).


For this week, I will do my best to cover the first part of this process. And my encouragement to you is not to read these words in order to simply affirm or reject them, but to truly meditate on them, tinker and experiment with them, and reflect on them throughout the week.


So, what’s the process of Perfect Love?


Well, it is to know and experience the following as true:


1. GOD IS LOVE


God is the source of love. He Is Love.


Allow that phrase to ring, in your mind, less spiritual, and more practical.


God is literally where love comes from.


Which means that all love that flows throughout the world, if it is really love, originally emanated from God. And when we love ANYTHING, we are, whether we know it or not, utilizing a power given to us by God.


Dallas Willard defines love as “working towards the good of the thing being loved.”


So, naturally, because God is where love originated…


2. GOD IS LOVING


If you grew up in any church, you’ve heard this a million times.


But In truth, Love is the only thing that God produces.


Every created thing, from the Oak Tree to the Duck-Billed Platypus, was created in an act of love.


The fringe attributes like grace, mercy, justice, blessing…all were born from love.


Even the “controversial” things that God seems to endow like wrath and judgment—are descendants of Love itself.


In fact, the one thing God CANNOT do, because it is not in His nature, is NOT love everything He has created. If God is love, God CANNOT simultaneously be someone incapable of love.


We see the sending out of this Divine Love throughout the pages of the Bible.


We see it in Eden. We see it in Egypt. We see it in Jerusalem. We see it in Bethlehem.


We see it powerfully on an old wooden cross.


We see it, even more powerfully, coming from a tomb three days later.


And we see it today, all around us. Even in a world where many are convinced God is absent (or even prefer that He is absent), we still get glimpses of God’s love and care everywhere and in everything God has created.


Go about your tasks today and see if you can spot it.


It has the essence of goodness, rightness, gentleness, beauty, and power embedded in it.


And we can run from it our whole lives. We can deny it and drown it out with noise and busy-ness (which God will allow us to do), but make no mistake: the love of God will always be pursuing us, waiting for us to simply stop running, be still, and receive it.


In fact, it turns out that, at this very moment, God is busy loving you.


(Stop for a second and think about that)


This initial move of God to love his creation is crucial if we are to make any progress toward Him. It is impossible for us to love God without, as the biblical writer puts it, him “first loving us” (1 Jn. 4:19).


This leads us to our third stage:


3. GOD IS LOVABLE


God is LITERALLY the most lovable being in the universe.


If you allow the first two points to truly sink in (that God is Love’s originator and its greatest steward), then it would come as no surprise to us that God would be so magnetic that we would be drawn towards Him as our soul’s only source of life like a baby to its mothers bosom.


As Augustine of Hippo famously declared, “You have made us for yourself O Lord & our heart is restless until it rests in you


And part of the Gospel (good news) is that God has loved us in a way that has created an opportunity for us to love Him back. “We love because He first loved us.” (1 Jn. 4:19)


When it comes to love, we can be sure that God never has “insufficient funds.” He is an endless reservoir of love, an “ineffable sea, and a fountain of blessings” according to Clement of Alexandria.


This reservoir contains a quantity and a quality of love so deep and rich that our finite minds cannot fully grasp it.


What we do know, because God has chosen to reveal it to us, is that human beings are designed to be with, love, and enjoy their Creator.


The problem is that many of us give our deepest love to other things that were not designed to hold our love properly: food, sex, work, our kids, our spouse, our favorite sports team, adrenaline & endorphins, “happiness”.


The list is truly endless.


But remember…God is always busy loving you. Sending his loving nudges and whispers out into the air around you. And, like a father standing on the hill, he waits in excited anticipation for his lost child to return.


The “worldly” things listed above are all good—when rightly ordered. What is needed, however, is for us to direct our efforts, all our misguided affections, every ounce of love we have, towards GOD and GOD alone.


All we must do then is remain (a more biblical word is abide) in Him, and rest in His loving embrace.


For God will respond to our efforts.


And He will hold us there in loving companionship until we discover what true satisfaction is. We will learn—over time—that what we had been searching for in earthly gifts will be found in full in their Heavenly Giver.


If we see these three truths as “stages” of love, it will help us arrive at our “true home.” The stages should go as follows:

  1. God is love.

  2. God is loving.

  3. God is lovable.

If we direct our thoughts and attention toward Him in a posture of surrendering love, God promises to fill us.


And He will fill us so much, practically speaking, there will be no room left in us for fear to reside. It has, quite literally, been driven out by something far more powerful.


This was why Jesus truly believed, and was not speaking hyperbolically, that to “Seek first God’s Kingdom with all its goodness” and to “love God with all one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength) was enough to take care of every other need in the life of an individual. And it will turn us into the kind of people who actually find it easier and more natural to love and trust Him than to be afraid.


So, as the Bible says 365 times….Fear Not.


Because God, as it turns out, makes a perfectly hospitable home for our deepest love to reside.


God is love, loving, and lovable.


God is where our love belongs.


(In part 2: we will discover the final stages of perfect love, and the final word that will drive out fear. Stay Tuned!)

Comments


Commenting has been turned off.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Shoot me an email, text, dm - or use the contact form to the right. Let's talk!

~ Andrew

Thanks for reaching out! I'll be in touch soon. 

Sign Up to Receive New Posts

No spam, EVER. Thanks for subscribing!

bottom of page