“There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love…God IS love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.”
(1 John 4: 18, 16b, Holman CSB)
This was convicting for me. I wasn’t even looking for this verse, yet it found me.
Fear plays a role when it clearly says (more than once) that it doesn’t belong where God is trusted, believed in, and given control.
I even switched the order of reading those verses. Because it needs to hit home.
I can’t say that it all makes sense this morning, finally, and that I am no longer a prisoner of my own making. But I am convicted in the gentle rebuke of He who continues to fight for the day when I will release myself from the walls I have built.
He shouldn’t have to fight any longer for me.
He finished it all on Calvary.
Yet here I crouch, with my brick and mortar, making dungeons faster than He crumbles them down. It is not meant to be this way.
And I am reminded, that what I’m living in is not love. It is fear.
Fear forges chains and fortifies barriers between living.
Love shatters lies and crumbles all the foolishness man makes.
“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 hold on to you with My righteous right hand.”
(Isaiah 41:10, Holman CSB)
Isaiah is pregnant with imagery and prophecy. Overflowing with the coming of Christ. With the redemption and reclaiming of all that was lost. The “righteous right hand” is a literal, tangible name for Christ – the Son of God Himself. The Father does not merely hold onto us with Christ, He bonds us to Himself. And that bond is infinitely stronger than brick and mortar. It’s forged by the blood of blameless Sacrifice. Nothing is stronger than that.
Certainly not my feeble walls.
“‘And lo [remember, behold], I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”
(Matthew 28:20b, NKJV, addition mine)
So I am shown He will not stop pursuing me. Though again, He isn’t meant to. He finished it. I dredge it up again and again. The accessory is fear. Yet the hands are my own. I, like Paul, constantly find myself doing what I do not truly want to do, or feeling what I do not want to feel. Yet God is bigger. Blood is stronger. Sacrifice is infinite.
So I am not loving, until I am abiding.
Until I am trusting.
Until I lay aside my rusted tools, stop with the walls, and denounce the rule that fear reigns over me.
Until I give all that is His, into His arms. That begins and ends with giving back every portion of myself. He bought me out of slavery. Who am I to keep us apart?
If there is even a small part of you that can understand this,
please feel the safety of sharing what keeps you from loving.
May we be the hands that help uphold one another…