Written by Jonathan Bremer. Media by Cord Buchanan.
Fear. It’s an abstract concept that we as humans seldom admit to feeling. It’s a feeling or concept that we like to make light of in today’s world. We speak about it in jest, or in popular films to test how fearless proud movie-goers really are. But rarely do we ever see or hear people openly talk about their deep insecurities or fears. Why? Because it’s uncomfortable. Society tells us that being timid or fearful is a sign of weakness. There are prerequisites of strength. These include confidence, self-assurance, and security. Is it any surprise then, why people go to such lengths to hide these “weaknesses” behind feigned self-confidence and self-assurance? The fundamental problem is not dealing with fear and insecurity, but rather, sequestering it and taking it on alone.
Living in denial of the fear we hold only leaves us with unsettled souls. The path to freedom is long and arduous. There will be moments where you ask yourself, “Is this really worth it?” There will be times where you feel alone and wrestle with fear. But, God promises something that our fear cannot provide. He offers us a perfect love. A love that drives away all fear. A love that fills us and does not leave us empty. God replaces our emptiness with the fullness of his love. 1 John 4:18a says, “Perfect love casts out fear.” This does not mean that we will never face fear. But it does mean, that if we are filled with the perfect love of God, that we will be equipped to relinquish our fear to God. Otherwise, we will be controlled and consumed by our fear. This is what I call a control shift.
Now, these things are all great in concept, but it does little good for us to talk about it exclusively. Effectiveness is inseparably bound to action and life application. The question this raises is “How do we do this?” “How do we begin to relinquish our fear to God?” Well, we first must acknowledge that the fear is there. Being aware of the fear that is impacting the way we live is an important part of self-reflection. Once we are aware of this, we can begin to be more transparent with ourselves and with others. From personal experience, I have found it extremely freeing to be open and transparent with an accountability partner. Being imperfect human beings, it is filling and renewing to have people with whom you can be transparent. God does not intend for us to live life alone, and struggles cannot be taken on alone either. The more often we continue to focus on the perfect love and grace of our Lord, the stronger our desire to be free from the weight of our fear. Ephesians 3:18-19 says, “I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Here, Paul is writing to the church in Ephesus. These verses are found in his prayer for them. He prays that they might experience and be filled with the fullness of God’s love. The same, perfect love of God that has filled so many believers before is also offered to us. The Lord wants us to be filled and restored in His perfect love. For this to become a reality; however, we must let go of the emptiness of our fearfulness and cling to the one who promises freedom from the bondage of our insecurities. It is time for a control shift. It is time to let go of our fear and be filled with the perfect love that God promises us!