There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.
I always wondered how perfect love casts out fear. What does it mean, and how does it work?
In my ignorance, this Verse made me feel deficient: like because I didn't love perfectly enough, I still felt fear... especially in the night. Not about ghosts, burglars, vermin or bugs. (Okay, certain critters give me the creeps, but not a blood-freezing fear.)
So I I've been studying Bible scholars (specifically Albert MacLaren).* I learned a few things:
1) Only God is able to love perfectly. Not us. On earth, we're merely students of love, studying under the Master: Jesus. Our faith in Him invites His perfect love to enter every dark encounter we might face. What does our Savior do? He shines His Light. He clears the way. He casts out demons, including fear.
2) Our willful and unrepentant sin casts a shadow over our hearts... and distances us from our Protector. Emptiness begs to be filled. In this case, fear fills the void: fear of God's wrath, fear of the growing separation... and fear of things we cannot control insinuate themselves in our consciousness.
3) Love produces produces boldness. Where boldness is, fear is not. Fear flees before boldness as surely as a pack of wolves flee before a charging lion. Our action step of walking toward the fear, or even just standing our ground, sends shockwaves of awe through bullies and witnesses alike. Love never fails.
Bottom line: Love Jesus. Stay close. Walk toward your enemies. Offer them love. God wins. You win, too.
## Fear: How Love Wins (Part 2)
* Albert MacLaren's Expositions on 1 John 4:18. It is excellent! https://biblehub.com/commentaries/1_john/4-18.htm
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Fear series.