“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
— 1 John 4:18
When was the last time you felt your heart pounding, your stomach tying itself into knots, your hands shaking like leaves in the wind? Was it last year? last month? yesterday?
Maybe you feel those things this very minute.
Fear runs deep in the human race, a legacy passed down from the very first of God’s creation. It’s the natural response of a sinful people to impending judgment. After Adam and Eve had tasted forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, what was their immediate response to hearing God’s voice? They were afraid and ran to hide themselves among the trees of the garden.
Do you remember the three angels who visited Abraham and then went to Sodom to talk to Lot? One of them was none other than God Himself appearing briefly in angelic form. But He came not as a Savior; he came to spy out the wickedness of the land. He came as a destroyer, bidding the red-hot sulfur to fall upon Sodom and Gomorrah to end the wickedness of their people.
God also came in judgment of the world during the time of Noah. In the face of the Flood that eventually wiped wickedness from the face of the earth, the people cried out in fear before they cried out no more.
Do you ever feel that fear? People truly had every reason to fear God and the supernatural, just as a criminal fears a police car’s blinking lights and wailing sirens. But the angel that announced Christ’s birth said, “Do not be afraid.” During his lifetime, Jesus repeated those words often. Jesus didn’t quote them from the angel. Jesus gave those words to the angel when He commissioned the angel to communicate His birth to the world. This message and Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, ushered in a new relationship with God: “Fear not.” “Be not afraid.” “It is I, be of good courage.” “Fear not, little flock.”
We don’t have to be afraid. Perfect love drives out fear, and God loves us—loves you— perfectly. You and I need not fear God’s punishment, for Jesus has taken it for us.
Will you accept God’s perfect love today?
Hear the angel’s words—and God’s message to you: “Be not afraid, for I bring you good tidings of great joy.”