Have no fear: Remember love

Isaiah 41--10The Verse of the Day for July 19, 2015 comes from Isaiah 41:10 (NLT):

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

This encouraging word is one of 365 scriptures that address the issue of fear, providing yet another reminder to believers: “Do not fear.” We could view this particular verse as one of our daily memos from God to have no fear.

We also find great comfort when we add verse 13 of Isaiah 42, from which the lyrics to a Scripture Memory Song are taken, offering these words of encouragement:

Do Not Fear

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God;

I will strengthen you, I will help you,

I will strengthen you, I will help you,

I will strengthen you, I will help you,

I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand;

It is I who say to you, “Do not fear; I will help you.”

In previous blog entries I have commented on fear and its impact upon our lives as believers. Recognizably, fear is a common and natural emotional response to potential danger, but if not properly addressed, it can become a deadly emotion with serious consequences. Excessive fear can become crippling and impact our daily lives in a negative way. Unbridled fear is a toxic emotion that can run rampant to limit and inhibit.

As with each of the toxic emotions of life, we want to counteract their harmful effects with the proper remedy. When we encounter a negative emotion, we are encouraged to move in the opposite spirit. In terms of responding to fear in light of moving in the opposite spirit, we find that love is the perfect antidote.

The book of I John reveals the “perfect” connection between fear and love, particularly in 1 John 2:5

But whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this know that we are in Him. [NKJV]

In those who hear the Word of God and keep it, the love of God is “perfected” or made perfect or complete, wanting nothing or brought to maturity in them. To be “perfected” is to be brought to a full end. This concept is further discussed in chapter 4 verse 12 which reminds us:

No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.

Verses 13-16 go on to explain just how the love of God comes to abide or remain or dwell within us:

By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

The love of God is “perfected” or made complete or full in us when we walk in the steps of Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of perfect love. Verse 17 elaborates on this reality:

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world

Verse 18 provides the basis for love being the perfect antidote to fear:

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

We are familiar with the acronym used to describe fear: False Evidence Appearing Real. A few years ago, a dear friend and sister in Christ shared another acronym for fear: Forgetting Everything Already Realized. This designation further inspired this line from a poem also offering another acrostic definition of love: Love Overcomes: this Victory we have Every time. Both descriptions are a part of this poem:

Have No Fear: Remember Love

With gratitude to Victoria Dunn

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear:

because fear involves torment. He who fears

has not been made perfect in love

I John 4:18

Forgetting Everything Already Realized,

Everything God performs He does with excellence.

Already set before us is every promise.

Realized with each sunrise this eternal truth:

Love Overcomes: this Victory we have Every time.

Only believe, knowing love energizes faith.

Victory is ours each time we trust God and believe,

Ever mindful that perfect love casts out all fear.

God cannot love us more and will not love us any less.

May we never forget but always remember:

Despite the storms and fiery trials, we will not fear,

Knowing nothing can separate us from God’s love.

When an individual is “perfected in love” and walks in or demonstrates that love, there is no room for fear. The love of God is the key that releases each believer from the bondage of fear, from which Christ came to set the captives free.

The essence of the message for today is “Have no fear—walk in love.” We conclude as Whitley Phipps offers this encouraging musical reminder: “No Need to Fear”

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