18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. - 1 John 4:18-19
Fear is the cheapest form of inspiration. Too many of us work in situations where our motivation comes from anxiety. Too many of us exist in relationships where fear is the stimulation for respect. Thus, too many of us live lives that are less than God’s desire for us.
Our text tells us that God does not motivate with fear. Even as I type this, I know that this has not always been obvious in light of how Christians have operated over the years. The explanation for this is simply that fear of judgment is a cheaper and easier way to get people to toe moral lines, to meet deadlines, and to sacrifice. Even though it is cheaper and easier, it is not God’s way.
God prefers the messier way of love. It is messier because it gives each and every one of us room to discover and grow into who he has created us to be. It gives us space to fail and use failure to learn redemption and resurrection. It provides opportunity for worship as we boldly live into knowing our God, knowing ourselves, and knowing the authentic meeting of the two.
This morning, note the places in your life that are inspired by fear. Where these are related to your faith, rebuke them as the false path. Where they are related to your job, your relationships, or your self concept, ask God to fill you with his loving vision of your life. Then ask God to walk with you on the messier way of love.
Dear Jesus, thank you for loving me. Thank you for loving the parts of me that seem lovable and the parts of me that seem less so. Open my eyes today to begin to live inspired by Your love. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.