Devotion #159

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.

1 John 4:18-19 ESV

There are two types of fear referenced in the Bible—one will bring you life, and the other will bring you death; one is profitable and the other is detrimental; one is encouraged and the other is sin.

Fear of the Lord is the first type of fear. It is a reverence for who He is and all He has done in this world and for you. It is a deep respect or awe at the acknowledgment of all that He is. It is not the type of fear that makes us run from Him, but rather bow down in honor of who He is. This fear motivates us to respect the Lord and His commandments. We are told in scripture that there are many benefits to this type of fear—it is the beginning of all wisdom, it brings peace and contentment, and it leads to life.

The other kind of fear is a distressing emotion that keeps us from moving. It is a belief—whether real or imagined—that there is a real danger of evil or pain in the road ahead. This fear causes us to stop and change directions. It can cause feelings of dread or apprehension. While we were given this fear from God to protect us in certain life-threatening situations, we dangerously allow this same fear to cover our hearts when the situation is not so dire.

Fear of the wrong things will keep you from becoming all God intends for you to be, and it will keep your marriage from becoming all that God intends for it to be for you. It will limit your potential and it will destroy your union. When we allow fears into our marriage, they become a divisive force that pushes us to our corners. Some allow fears of what the other may do or who they may choose to dictate their words or actions, while others allow fears of financial distress or declining health influence conversations and decisions. Don’t misunderstand—there is wisdom in making choices that positively impact both our health and finances and there are certainly times when our fears are rightly telling us to find safety from a situation or an individual, but the unhealthy fears that paralyze us with little or no foundation will cause relational strife if not checked against the Word of God.

God does not want you to live a life filled with fears. It is no coincidence that there are 365 “fear not” commands in the Bible—that’s one for every day of the year. God does not want us to live in fear. He wants us to embrace the promises that He is sovereign over our lives, that He promises a future hope, that He is working all things out for good, and that He will never leave us or forsake us. Regardless of what your future holds—whether it is a devastating medical diagnosis or financial collapse, whether you face your spouse’s sin or your own, He will be there with you through it all. You have no reason to fear because He has a plan for your life that will ultimately lead to your good.

The hard truth is living with unfounded fear is sin. Many of us don’t want to acknowledge our fears as sinful because that means we need to lay them down and ask for forgiveness, but we are told multiple times in scripture not to be afraid. Fear is a lack of trust that God is sovereign over all things in your life; it is placing a priority on something greater than Our Father in heaven. There is nothing greater or more powerful than our God, not even our fear.

Perfect love casts out fear. Choose the perfect love of Jesus Christ and it will push out the fears that consume you. The more you intentionally decide to fill your marriage with the love that can only come from the Spirit within you, the less fear you are going to have. The less fear you have, the more perfect your love.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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