Perfected love overcomes fear

Friday the 13th

Some people have a negative reaction to Friday, the 13th, but believers are encouraged to have no fear.

As the sun rises on a new day, we celebrate and joyfully declare: “This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Today, the second Friday in the New Year, actually turns out to be Friday, the 13th, a day that some react to in a negative way. Some even have an abnormal fear of Friday, the 13th, actually expressed in the psychological term paraskevidekatriaphobia. While not everyone harbors an ungrounded fear of Friday, the 13th, we cannot deny that fear seems to abound during the perilous times in which we live. We all recognize that 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.

The Bible addresses the issue of fear with numerous reminders that as believers we are not to fear. This comforting exhortation to “fear not” or “do not fear” occurs 365 times in the Bible, indicating a daily memo from God that we are to have no fear. We could look at each one of these exhortations, not as “The Verse of the Day” but as “A Verse of the Day” for every day. One such passage offering great encouragement during trying times comes from Isaiah 41:10, 13, source of these lyrics:

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 it is I, the LORD your God, who holds your right hand;
It is I who say to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.”
“Do not fear, I will help you.”
“Do not fear, I will help you.”

Fear is a tool of the Enemy used as a barrier to stifle our confidence in God, as it attempts to limit our access to the Father’s throne of grace. Satan tries to instill fear in believers in the same way that a ferocious lion roars, seeking to instill fear that paralyzes its victim. We find a similar picture of the ways of our adversary in I Peter 5:8 (AMP):

Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.

It has been said that fear is the only thing that defeats the promises of God. Pastor Rick Warren describes fear as “. . . a self-imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be.”

A previous blog post on this topic discussed 1 John 4:18 where we find 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.

The Book of 1 John makes known that 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. When an individual is “perfected in love” and walks in or demonstrates that love, there no room for fear. The love of God is the key that releases each believer from the bondage of this “self-imposed prison” from which Christ came to set the captives free.

I recall learning about the love of God as a counteractant to fear in a very simple yet profound way. One of the first books that my wife and I used to teach our daughters about our Heavenly Father was My Little Golden Book about God. This was a kind of primer for our daughters who memorized the words and associated them with the illustrations long before they could actually “read.” Some of the most cherished lines were these words that closed out the small book:

“Do not fear. I am here. And I love you, my dear. Close your eyes and sleep tight. For tomorrow will be bright.All is well, dear child. Good night.”

This simple response encourages all children of God to have no fear, for God is ever present, and He continues to say, “And I love you, my dear.”

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, when we walk in power of God’s love, we will recognize a notable change, not only in our own lives individually, but we will also experience fruitfulness and favor upon our land, even in the midst of famine. The following poem expresses the two-fold blessing that God generates through “Perfected Love”:

Perfected Love

The LORD will answer and say to His people,
“Behold, I will send you grain and new wine and oil,
And you will be satisfied by them;
I will no longer make you a reproach among the nations.

Joel 2:19 (NKJV)

Jehovah, creator, author and finisher,
Who initiates to nourish perfected love;
Ever-abiding source and resource, publisher
Of declarations of genuine love to move
The soul of man to return to the place of his first
Love, the Beloved, whose heart overflows to give,
For only this passion can satisfy our thirst,
As You refresh us and teach us how we should live.
You have pledged your love through a sacred covenant.
If we maintain our vows of love, You will sustain
Our souls and feed us so that we shall never want.
You will shower with mercy as the gentle rain
And will bless and multiply the fruit of our land
With “grain, wine, and oil” supplied by Your gracious right hand.

Despite the challenges that confront us as individual believers or collectively as a nation, the Word of God exhorts us to be bold and take courage, not just on Friday, the 13th but every day of our lives. Friday, the 13th, is just another reminder to put on our “no fear gear”, as we walk in the love of God which casts out all fear. We close with the reassuring words of Wintley Phipps, who tells us one more time, “No Need to Fear:”

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