There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4, verse 18.
There’s something unexpected in this verse, something we may not have considered before. You are a witness to God, to His eternal goodness, divine love, unending forgiveness, and true hope. And, understanding how we are witnesses for Jesus and like Jesus, there’s an unexpected lesson from something in His life.
Jesus was afraid.
If you’re a long-time believer, you might be taken aback by that last sentence, so read it again and chew on it. In His humanity, the only thing that discriminated Jesus from you or I was sin. He lived a perfect life and never sinned. In Jesus, there was perfection in all He thought, said and did. In every other way, however, He lived just like you and I. He was tempted, He wept, He bled, He hurt, He knew anguish. And He was afraid. He knew fear, He understood fear, He felt fear. Just as you and I have our own fears of things in this world, Jesus felt fear. Jesus felt afraid.
If it’s Thursday night and you know that, come Friday, every wrong, sin, and torment ever conceived in the heart of man was going to fall on your shoulders, and that the full punishment of God the Father Himself was going to descend on you and you alone, if you were Jesus would you feel afraid? Of course you would because He did. He had genuine anguish and dread in Gesthemene, knowing what was ahead of Him. Jesus was afraid.
What He never did was succumb to that fear or let Himself be manipulated by it. He stood up with God, humbled Himself to His Father, and accepted what would come. In doing so, He let that perfect love rule the moment and it drove away the fear. In submitting His will to the Father’s, Jesus felt the comfort of God’s Spirit fill him and felt again and again that lasting rush of perfect love that drives out all wrongness.
Fear is wrong. Jesus overcame it.
You and me, we are like Jesus. You and me, we can let God’s perfect love drive out our fears, too. I pray we never hang on a cross, but no matter what crosses we bear, we can let God’s love into our hearts to help us confront and overcome our own pet fears. Manipulators, tyrants and controllers prey on our fears, telling us how dire things are ‘if only.’ We don’t need to put up with that, or be controlled by it, or settle for it. The two of us: we’re like Jesus. We can be ruled by His love, instead, and not the world’s fear.
Fearless Jesus, when I am afraid, fill me with Your love, drive out my fears, and help me to live more for You.