Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "I Will Sing The Wondrous Story"1 (Lyrics)
1 John 4:18 – 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. (NIV)
As part of the history class that I took in high school, I had to study the origins of World War II. Our class spent several weeks focusing on the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and how he motivated the American people to deal with the Great Depression, as well as leading them through the dark days of the global war. We also had to learn his exceptional words — which are still often quoted — from his first inaugural speech in 1933: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
There's no doubt that we are living in anxious times. Most of the good folks I know are fearful of the future because COVID-19 has robbed them of their confidence. Others feel that partisan politics has become an extreme problem and that we are heading toward a severe conflict which will divide our communities, our congregations, and our families. The longer that this uncertainty continues, the deeper our divisions; the more that our unfettered concerns grow, the fewer connections that we will have with one another. Fearing our fears will erode our trust; fueling our fears will break our nation.
All this has happened before. Centuries ago, when Christians were truly being persecuted and the survival of the church was questionable, old men like the apostle John called upon the community of faith to face their fear by replacing it with love. To be fearful was to punish oneself with anxiety; to be faithful was to replenish oneself with love. John fully believed that our lives are meant to be focused on love and not overwhelmed with fear.
Today, Christ's church, as always, has the remedy to reduce our fears and relinquish our anxieties. The Spirit of Christ within us has the power to overcome the spirit of spite outside us. Fear is a manipulator which imprisons our souls with lies; faith is a motivator which frees our spirits with love.
Question: Am I willing to bring all my fears to Christ and exchange them for His love?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You know that we live in fearful times. Grant us Your love so that we may transform them into faithful times. In Your holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.