There is no fear in love for perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 1 John 4: 18 NRSV
Fear has to do with punishment. That is what has bothered me during this whole season of looking at fear (over 23 devotionals on the subject). If I fear God, then I am worshipping, obeying, following and praising God in order to avoid punishment. God doesn't want a relationshhip with me based on avoiding being punished.
In addition, fear is a basic emotion and fearing God could be seen as merely instinctual. What takes true trust and bravery is love. Striving to love God is going to take some work on my part. It does not feel natural. It means that I will have to show my love in tangible ways rather than cower in the corner. I will have to step out on faith if I am going to perfectly love God. In fact, the more perfectly I love God, the greater risk for physical suffering in this lifetime. Perfect fear tries to get away from suffering. Perfect love will move toward and risk suffering.
Perfect love is hard. Are you willing to move toward perfection? Let's go there together.
In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2009 Amelia G. Sims