The Answer to our Fears

There are many things common to all humans through time and space, but one of them strikes a part of our core unlike any other.

All of us experience fear that we didn't choose, we want to get rid of and we can't get free from.

There are many ways the human psyche will deal with fear and most of them happen on a subconscious level as a sort of defense mechanism.

Some people ignore fear, pretending as if we don't actually have fears because we never think about the things we are most afraid of. We feign ignorance and believe we don't have to deal with our fears because most of the time, they don't affect us. But one day, they will return, perhaps on our darkest days, and then we will have to look at them face to face.

Other people avoid fears. They know the power of their fears and so they pinpoint everything that causes that fear and then they do everything they can to avoid it. The most obvious example is the fear of heights. Most people will not climb anything too high or will refuse to look down in an airplane so that this fear will not intimidate them. In avoiding fear, it will always remain with you.

Still other people mask their fears. Inside, they are frightened and scared, but on the outside, they look completely healthy. They have admitted their weakness over fear, so their only hope is to put on a false expression of strength so that others around them will think they are doing alright. Unfortunately, they will undoubtedly fall into patterns of anger and denial, refusing to deal with the root of their fears because it will be too painful.

Another group of people medicate their fears. They binge watch programs that stimulate endorphins in the brain or take medications and drugs to overwhelm their fears with the feeling of ecstasy. In their moments of exhilaration, they forget all about their fears, but as soon as the feeling of pleasure wears off, they are forced to stimulate more endorphins or face the full weight of unchecked fear.

Finally, there are some people who suppress their fears. They are the people who are trying to deal with the core issues of their fears and do brave things to overcome them. They fight the feeling of fear and even perform stunts that make them feel afraid so they can face them. In the example of the fear of heights, they would purposefully climb tall buildings and look out over the edge, believing that one day, their fear will go away completely.

All of these different reactions to fear have something in common. They all try to use a human solution to either relieve or overcome fear. Not one of them seeks an answer beyond themselves and that is why none of them will truly work. Sure, they all get relief in some way, and perhaps some small fears will be dealt with as a result, but the core issues of their deepest fears will never be fully driven out by mere human answers.

In 1 John chapter 4, John stresses that Christians ought to love one another, for all who are born of God have a relationship with the God who is love. The love of God was made manifest to us through Jesus who loved us first by paying the punishment for our sins on the cross. For this reason we ought to love one another, which is assurance that God lives in us and his love is made perfect in us.

John says that fear has to do with punishment. This punishment could derive from the sins of our ancestors, a result of our own poor choices or a combination of the two. Whether it is through genetic inheritance or past scars, though, all fears stem from the punishment we must face as a result of sin. To put it simply, sin requires punishment and punishment causes fear.

We may be afraid of the unknown, losing control, pain, death or humiliation, but all of these are rooted in the fear of negative consequences as a result of sin. What are you afraid of? Whatever it is, I can guarantee that if someone bigger than your fears takes away all punishment, you will be free from those fears.

There must be a point of contact between you and whatever is trying to help you. For most religions, the point of contact is the teaching of that religion. For doctors, the point of contact is medication or surgery. For counseling, the point of contact is relationship. In the same way, if you want the living God to help you, you must make contact with him, which is only made possible because Jesus is alive today.

The resurrection of Jesus is the central teaching of the Christian faith. Without it, there would be no Christianity because it would mean that Jesus was not who he said he was. But the overwhelming truth is that Jesus is alive because he rose from the grave on the third day and he is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven, willing to intercede and plead for God's children.

Jesus paid the punishment for our sins by dying the death we should have died. He took all our sins and fears upon himself, bearing the consequences in our place. But, none of this will mean anything to you if you do not accept his sacrifice through faith. We must apply the grace offered through what Jesus did for us, and for that, we need to make contact with God.

The living Christ is the point of contact for us, the mediator between God and man. When we put our faith in him and believe that his sacrifice was for us, we receive a blood transfusion from Jesus. In chapter 1 of 1 John, John says the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin if we walk in the light as he is in the light. What's more, he sends the Holy Spirit to live in us as a sure testimony that we are children of God (Romans 8:16).

"Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God." There is oneness with God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. There is a call for all the children of God to abide in God's love as God himself abides in them. This is the answer for our fears, for when his love is perfected in us, we have confidence for the day of judgment since Jesus took our punishment on himself at the cross.

However, you must make the initial step in moving from a place of worshipping other gods or things or self to worshipping the Father who created all heaven and earth. You must confess Jesus as the Christ who died and rose for your salvation. After the transition to become a child of God, the God who is love abides in you and his love can be perfected in you.

The result of God's love is startling. It changes everything. John declares one of the benefits of this love. "There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear." If you still fear even after becoming a child of God, then you have not been perfected in love.

Think of a human father who loves his children. If it is in his power to do so, he will relieve any suffering and fear his children experience. Even the chastisement for disobedience is done with the purpose of maturing and growing the child so that they will be blessed because of it. If a human father will do all that for his children, how much more the infinite creator of heaven and earth? God not only loves his children. He is love.

If there is any fear that you have not completely driven out, then your answer is simple. You need a greater revelation of God's love toward you. Memorize this scripture: "There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear." The word perfect, according to the Greek interlinear Bible resources, means complete or having reached the end. It is described as when a pirate extended his telescope one section at a time until it was fully extended.

God's love has to reach all the way to the end to drive out fear. Or to say it another way, you must receive the fullness of this revelation of God's love. When that telescope is fully extended, it will drive out all fear and you will be truly free. As Jesus said, "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." Meditate on 1 John chapter 4, reading it all in context and believe again that God's love has authority and power to drive out every fear.

I believe the ending to this section in John's letter is a critical component to being set free from fear. You cannot love God if you don't love your brother. Therefore, if you want God's love to be perfected in you, you must love your brother. The vertical relationship with us and God must go together with our horizontal relationship between us and our brothers. Or as John says it:

"And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother."

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