1 John 4:18 - 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.
When you're lost in fears or I in mine, the GPS, "God's positioning system," sends down a message to move us beyond fear and to more confident living. "Fear," St. John wrote, "has to do with punishment." There's a lot for which we rightfully can be punished. The child who has misbehaved is fearful when hauled into the principal's office. Something fearful happens in your life and you wonder, "Is God punishing me?" Even if everything is going along nicely, you still may be apprehensive, just waiting for something bad to happen, for "the other shoe to drop," as they say. "Fear has to do with punishment."
The message that comes down from heaven is that God has already done the punishing. That's what Gethsemane and Calvary were all about. To serve you, not to serve Himself, Jesus gave His life as a ransom and paid the price for all your sins. Yes, bad things do come our way but God is not punishing you. "God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform," the hymn says. In ways often known only in His divine wisdom, the bad things, the fearful things, are used by God to increase our dependence upon Him—our outward, not inward, focus. God's love is ready to position you to move beyond fear and confidently face anything in your future.
I'm talking about a real confidence for the future based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The book of Hebrews says, "Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:1b-2).
Yes, Jesus gave His life as a ransom for your sins. What's more, He rose and ascended into heaven to open the way for you to endure the hardships of this present life with your faith focused on a glorious future in heaven. His resurrection is the proof that God wants to position you beyond fear and give you confidence for the future. The poet says, "Jesus, my Redeemer lives; I, too, unto life shall waken. Endless joy my Savior gives; Shall my courage then be shaken? Shall I fear, or could the head rise and leave His members dead?" The answer is "No way!" not with God's positioning system of love.
WE PRAY: Heavenly Father, Your Son is the light of our lives. Teach us to follow Him. In Jesus' name. Amen.
From "Beyond Fear," a sermon from Rev. Dr. Dale Meyer, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
1. Have you ever been lost and truly worried about finding your way back? How did you return?
2. What is it about God's love that gives us the power to press on through our fears?
3. How do you rely on God for guidance when you're unsure of which way to go?
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