"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us." - 1 John 4:18-19 ESV
I was thinking this morning that fear can be like an alarm bell. Love silences that alarm and replaces it with something greater. The law was given in part to trip the alarm.
"By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." - Genesis 3:19 ESV
'Ding. Ding. Ding.' Get up Adam. Your time has come. Do. Do. Do. Because soon it will be to late. All your progress is going to regress so make your impact now!
Panic is organic and fear is the primary trigger.
Believing the Gospel silences the fears. Some go all at once and others die out slowly or take time. Truth becomes reassuring. Hymns can replace the silent mantras of condemnation. Love casts out fear when grace is understood.
"We put no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also." - 2 Corinthians 6:3-13 ESV
If a person is motivated by fear they can't comprehend this passage. Calamities reinforce fear based motivation. Do. Do. Do. Becomes a preventive measure. Pain traumatizes and reinforces the organic cycle.
Grace establishes different motivations. Grace wants no obstacles to be put in a person's spiritual growth. Grace enlarges the heart. Grace sees calamity as a painful stepping stone and looks past the tragedy and sees something greater.
If this was a different medium I would draw a small heart inside someones chest then draw a bigger one. The heart would get larger and surround people. God's heart is larger then the night sky. God's heart is big and if you know Him yours gets bigger and bigger. Awareness of grace facilitates that process.
Paul says, 'Widen your hearts.' but knows as he is saying it that it is something you might say to a child. We must see Jesus and His large heart. When we see Him we are transformed. The alarms are silenced and the heart is widened.
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:2a KJV
"For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?' " - 1 Corinthians 15:53-55 ESV
One day the alarm will no longer be needed. The organic panic will be replaced by imperishable glory. What a great day that will be. As for now we keep taking doses of the antidote and fear is chased out of our lives.
Oh God. Please flood us with love this morning. We pray for the people we know that seem to live with the alarms blasting in their souls. Peace. We pray for peace. We pray that saving grace would be illuminated to us and to them. Grace saves and grace also keeps. We want to see the power of your resurrection today. Fear has a purpose but please silence the alarms for those who have moved past the danger. We want your words to be heard and for them to do a deep work. Thank you Lord. You are the amazing God.