We live in an increasingly fearful world. War. Environmental catastrophe. Consequences of a bitter election. General mistrust of government. Growing violence. Brutal dictators. Threats from groups that murder and torture in the name of religion. That’s a short list.
Of course, there is nothing new about fear. In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus addressed the pointlessness of fear. He called it worry, but worry encompasses fear and vice-versa.
Fear is stifling. It brings useful thinking and meaningful action to a halt. It destroys health. It causes withdrawal from fellow humans. It makes us suspicious of our neighbors. It adds not a single thing to our lives.
We’ll all be afraid at times, but to live in a state of fear leads to spiritual barrenness. So, what are we to do?
In the beautiful, powerful discourse on love found in I John 4, we discover the answer. God is love, so we must love. Not just God but all mankind. “This is how love is made complete among us…There is no fear in love. But perfect loves drives out fear.”
Fear is love’s enemy. “The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
So there we have it. We can fear, or we can love. And in love, we find patience, kindness, humility, selflessness, truth, joy, peace, forbearance, goodness, gentleness, self-control. We find all that we need. We find abundant life.