When I became a believer in 1991, I would asked people to pray for me about the consuming and terrifying fear that gripped my mind. And often, I would hear them pray something about love, and how perfect love casts out fear. They were referencing 1 John 4:18,
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.
That was 20 years ago, and today I’m still learning more and more about God’s perfect love. The depth of his love is never ending. The more I learn and experience his love, the greater the peace I experience.
I want to share a few points I’ve learned along the way about this “perfect love” that conquers fear.
1. What is Perfect Love
The word “perfect” in this scripture is teleios. It means completeness, to be completed in growth or labor. Perfect love is love that has been perfected and complete. It doesn’t mean you have to live a perfect life for God to love you. The more we surrender to God’s perfecting work in our life, the more complete we grow in God’s love.
Think of it this way: it’s not how perfect your love is towards God–it’s how perfect God’s love is towards you. When you come to know just how much God loves you, the fear is cast out.
2. Casting out Fear
The Greek word for “casts out” is ballo, which means to violently fling, throw or thrust out. Other versions translate this as “expels” or “drives out”. Perfect love expels, drives out, and violently thrusts away fear. It’s not a gentle pushing or nudging. It is violently smashed by God’s perfect love.
3. Righteousness, your Right Standing with God
What is righteousness? What does it mean to be righteous?
Righteousness is “right standing with God”. It’s a state of being worthy, qualified, and declared right.
Many of us look at our mistakes and sin, and we let it define who we are. But, that’s not how God defines us. If we have received Christ, God looks at us differently. If you have confessed with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him from dead, then you will be saved (Romans 10:9) and declared righteous, holy and justified.
In Christ, you are perfect in God’s eyes. God is not angry with you nor disappointed with you. You are fully qualified, fully justified, and fully righteous in Christ.
Jesus (who was sinless) was punished so that we (who are sinners) are free from God’s punishment. It’s the great Exchange!
In Christ, you are completely and totally accepted by God right now, today. God is pleased with you. He loves you so much and he longs to spend time with you. He pursues us continually, unashamedly, and passionately. God cherishes his time with you every moment of every day.
This week, take some time to experience God’s love, his unconditional, unhindered, perfect love. And when you do, fear will be expelled, cast out, driven away, in Jesus’ name!
Prayer: Father, help me experience all of your love for me.