Why Should We Understand Fear versus Love?

Curated from several sources about fear and love...

1 John 4:17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.

We must resolve what may seem like a contradiction when the Bible tells us that Jesus loves us and came to set us free from fear, while on the other hand we are told to fear God.

What is Fear of God?

First, let us look at what the Bible means by having the “fear of God.”  Notice in these verses that it defines the fear of the Lord God, as a reverent and worshipful fear. This is not a fear of what God will do to us, but rather a fear and awe of His almighty power. God is almighty and He tells us in the Bible what happens to all people who reject Him and His love.  Their fate is one of facing God in the Day of Judgment and if they have not repented of their sins and accepted Him as their Savior, they will be condemned to hell. Now, if we believe the Bible, we will respect its Words. Therefore, we will have a healthy fear of going to hell if we reject His Word. Or, if He told us to keep His commandments, we will have a fear of what will happen to us should we break them.  This holy fear helps us to refrain from sin because sin has consequences.

An example of godly fear in the natural realm would be like our parents telling us not to do certain things because if we do them, it will cause us pain or could even kill us. That is why the Bible tells children to obey their godly parents. If we respect our parents, we will believe their warnings to us and we will be afraid of the consequences our actions may bring. This will keep us from going down a wayward path. Not only will we reap the fruit of our sin, but we will also face the anger or displeasure of our parents. Our heavenly Father is not different, if we respect Him, we will also be afraid to disobey Him as He has already outlined the consequences of sin. This is not God overtly punishing us, but rather we are punished because when we sin, we bring the punishment of our sins upon our own selves.

Jeremiah 2:19 Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the LORD your God and have no awe of me," declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.

This verse tells us that if we have the fear of God in us, we would not be doing wicked things. Therefore, godly fear is a good thing for us, as His children.

What are Tormenting Fears?

The other kind of fear which the Bible tells us about is tormenting fear. This kind of fear is the fear Jesus went to the cross to set us free from. It is the crippling fear that brings torment to us. Tormenting fear brings us into bondage and captivity.

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ""Abba," Father."

Some examples of these kinds of fear are:

  • Fear of dying
  • Fear of losing a loved one
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of the future
  • Fear of getting a disease
  • Fear of being robbed
  • Fear of poverty

...via Godly Fear versus Tormenting Fear

Does Jesus Love Us?

I’m not trying to denounce Christ’s love for us, but I think we have manipulated the concept in a negative way. Instead of Christ’s love for us being a beautiful act of mercy and grace, we’ve taken this stunning truth and twisted it to be a self-esteem boost band-aid we stick on whenever the world hurts our feelings.

Someone teases me. Well, at least Jesus loves me. He broke up with me. That’s okay, #JESUSISMYBF. The day isn’t going my way. Do you know what, Jesus is working it all out for me. Do you see the selfishness? If we’re honest with ourselves, we know we think this way. The most wonderful love in the word has been reduced to a backup love that we fall on whenever we fail to find love from the idols we worship. how-much-jesus-loves-us

The saddest part is that this struggle is rampant with those who were adopted form darkness to light because of the very love they have soiled.

Christ’s love was not given to be used as a healer for the world’s attacks. It was meant to make the attacks ineffective. It was designed to spark a love in us for God that would be so powerful we would be so focused on loving God we wouldn’t care what the world did to us.

John was so in love with God that he said, “ He must become greater; I must become less”. (John 3:30)

Stephen loved God so much that when an avalanche of rocks hurled towards him he “looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55).

These men weren’t focused on “Jesus loves me.” They were focused on I love Jesus, and because of that, it didn’t matter what the world did to them. They were insignificant. What mattered was exalting Jesus.

When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He did not pray, “Yes, God loves me! Yes, God loves me! Yes, God loves me! He tells me so.” Christ prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42). Even Jesus’ life, in His view, was insignificant compared to the will of the Father.

...via What We Get Wrong With “Jesus Loves Me”

This kind of love should be proof to us that this life isn't about us at all. It is about loving, praising and serving just like Jesus did while He was on this earth. How has the focus shifted to us?

Jesus Loved His Disciples

In John 15:9-17, the Bible strongly testifies that Jesus loved His twelve disciples. His love was not a passing affection but an abiding, self-sacrificing devotion. Moreover, the context of the passage reinforces that we, His future disciples, are loved by Jesus. He calls us His friends!

These verses shed light on other portions of the song’s lyrics: “As he loved so long ago” and “He who died.” Jesus loved His disciples, and “Jesus Loves Me” so much that He laid down His life for me.

via All About God

If Jesus calls us His disciples and tells us to go and make disciples, why aren't we believing this? Are we seeking out the lost to spread the Gospel like the original apostles? Or is it all about us?

Love Comes from Relationship

God love for humankind is unconditional, but he does not offer anyone unconditional relationship. He tells us that our sin separates us from him and that without repentance we have no fellowship with him (1 John 1:6). Our sin does not separate us from God’s love (Romans 5:8) but it does separate us from his presence (Isaiah 59:1-2). Jesus distanced himself from certain religious leaders because he didn’t trust them. He knew what was in their heart (John 2:24). Throughout much of the Old Testament, God withdraws his presence from his people because of unrepentant sin.

God calls people to a covenant relationship that is like a marriage. He not only wants us to enjoy his love, he wants us to love him back (Deuteronomy 6:5). He not only promises us his faithfulness, he requires that we be faithful in return (Deuteronomy 4:23-24). The book of Hosea is a picture of God’s love for his unfaithful spouse (Israel). He longs for her, but his relationship with her will remain broken until she is willing to change.

We are indeed called to be imitators of Christ and live a life of love (Ephesians 5:1), but let us not put a yoke on someone to do something that God himself doesn’t do. God is good to the saint and unrepentant sinner alike, but he does not have relationship with both. When someone repeatedly sins against someone and is not repentant and willing to change, it’s not possible to have a healthy or safe relationship with him or her, including marriage.

Being in close fellowship with someone is not a right, even if both people are Christians. It is a sacred privilege. The apostle Paul advises us to distance ourselves from people who are continually destructive, especially if their behaviors or attitudes are sinful and unacceptable, both to us and to God (1 Corinthians 5:9-11; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15).

Loving a person unconditionally may indeed require sacrifice and suffering, but we suffer and sacrifice for another person’s good, not to allow them to continue to sin against us. To do that is foolishness, not biblical love. Too many counselees have been wrongly instructed that biblical love means they must be nice and suffer quietly, even as they are being mistreated and abused. But as C.S. Lewis wisely wrote, “Love is more stern and splendid than mere kindness.”

...via Unconditional Love, Conditional Relationship

Add Comment

%d bloggers like this: