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…casteth out fear.

BibleQuestionsThere are a number of passages in the Bible which make me sit up and question, sit up an reflect on, their true meaning.

Indeed there are a number of passages that lead me off on wonderful journeys of discovery.

Likewise some passages which I thought I had understood will often leap out at me with new meaning, new significance, new revelation.

But then, more than any other writing, the Bible for me stands unique as a constant living and fluid unfurling of narration, a living explanation of the relationship that I have with God through Christ.

One such passage that has often caused me to sit and reflect is that of 1 John 4:18…

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (KJV)

“But perfect love casteth out fear.”  Its an interesting one isn’t it?  Especially if, like me paranoia, or anxiety, forms part of your mental health. And especially if thqt paranoia forms part of your schizophrenia or your schizo-affective disorder and those ‘voices’ or that inner dialogue asks such things as “see you have fear, so you are not made perfect in love – what does that tell you then?”

The key words for me here however, is that of “casteth out” or in the NIV ” drives out”.  In the Greek the word is βάλλω (ballō) and means to throw out or get rid of.  So in answer to those voices and that inner dialogue I have to say, “how can you cast out, drive out, throw out, or get rid of something that you don’t have?”

It is a valid point isn’t it?  You have to have something in the first place in order to be able to cast it out or get rid of it?  So having a faith in God through Christ doesn’t mean that I will never fear or have reason to fear, it instead challenges what I do with fear when it comes my way.

So let’s look at that for a moment…

Kid At Door1I wonder how many of us as parents have had our child or children wake up from a bad dream or nightmare and in their fear automatically call out to us of come to our bedroom door in search of us?

Or if you have no children how many of us can remember doing that ourselves when we were children and had a bad dream or nightmare?

Just going to Mum or Dad and getting their reassurance and the security that that offered dealt with that fear didn’t it?  The faith and trust that perfect love that a child has for and in and from his or her parents casts out that fear.

Kid At DoorIsn’t (and shouldn’t) the same be true in respect of the fear that we face in life as children of God?

Can’t we go to Him in faith through Christ knowing that as our perfect heavenly Father we have that perfect blessed assurance?

God is our heavenly Father and His love is perfect.  In Him we have comfort and joy, as the old song goes, and yet there is no where in the Bible – as far as I can see – that says that through a relationship with God through Christ all threats, all trials, all troubles will be removed from us.  In fact there are several places that indicate that they may well increase.

I have long since said, that one of the fundamental roles of a parent for a child is in many ways to be representatives and representations of God until the child is able to understand and develop his or her own relationship with God through Christ Jesus.

That source or comfort, of reassurance, of guidance and protection that we should get from our parents – especially in our younger years – is an excellent example of this and I fully believe that as Christians it is the perfect love of our heavenly Father that enables us to cast out all fear.

Some students of the bible will no doubt suggest that since this verse being preceded by the words of verse 17…

17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.

it would indicate that this passage is speaking of the day of judgement, but I would point out that actually it is also about how we live our lives up to that day.  Consider the words of verse 19 I would add…

19 We love because he first loved us.

We love because He first loved us and it is that perfect love that provides is with the courage that we need to run the race for which we are called.

Yes things have and in many ways are still tough and I know that I am not alone in that and that many others are going through equally if not tougher times.  But as a child of my heavenly Father, His perfect love gives me the strength to go on 🙂

1 John 4v19