by: Sam Picken
“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love … Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.” 1 John 4:16–19
Whatever we fear in life, we devote time and attention to. Worship is devoting our time and attention to something. The things we spend the most time and attention on are the things we worship most. So it’s logical to say …
WHAT WE FEAR MOST, WE WORSHIP MOST
Fear drives us. It has the power to sway our decisions and refocus our attention. Fear is not a bad thing IF we place our fear (trust) in God. The Bible says for us to fear the Lord. This is to keep Him in such a strong place of reverence that our best time and attention is directed His way.
We know God’s love and put our trust in Him when we abide in Him and He abides in us. This keeps our focus off of ourselves and points our vision outward in the cause to love others. The enemy uses fear to direct us away from selflessly loving God and loving others. He places loud voices around our lives that cause fear, crippling us and keeping our sight inward, self-centered and myopic. Let me list three crippling voices … (BTW there are many more).
1. Voice of Mammon
Have you ever found yourself stressed and in fear of making ends meet financially? You might take an extra shift, work overtime or seek to impress your boss, even at the expense of what God is asking of you. Place your trust in God first; let Him direct your financial world and you'll be able to get busy loving others, instead of being busy worried about money.
2. Voice of Opinon
Have you ever found yourself stressed about the opinion of others? Working extra hard to impress people you may never meet, maybe it’s at the point where the opinion of others is louder than the opinion of God? It’s hard to love others when you constantly need others to love you.
3. Voice of Condemnation
If we fear the punishment of our sin, shame keeps us focused creating "fig leaves." I hear God saying, “What are you doing? Stop wasting precious time covering yourself up in hopeless attempts to become right before me. I’ve already covered you, stop sinning and start loving.” If our focus is outward on others, reaching more people, helping more people, sacrificing self for the cause of love, we will be naturally walking away from sin.
1 John 4 tells us the more we learn how much God loves us, the more we know we can TRUST Him. Therefore, His perfect love eliminates any fear we have of our shortcomings or weakness. When we have this security in His love, our decisions become less reactive to life’s pressures and more responsive to God’s love. The response He calls for is an outward focus to love others in the same way He outwardly loved us.
Do you know how much He loves you? If you did, you would know that you don't need to be busy focused on self, but you can get busy loving others. I want to remind you that you can trust God! So what are you waiting for? Let His perfect love eliminate any fear you have and start really loving others.
See you in church,