“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 NKJV
Before I share what I believe to be the ultimate antidote to fear and anxiety, I have a very important disclaimer to make. I believe God made us to be very complex beings, so much so we will never completely understand all the intricate workings of our existence. God tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 that we are made up of basically three parts: spirit, soul and body.
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole SPIRIT, SOUL, and BODY be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (emphasis added)
While I am sure there are exceptions, I believe there are few things we experience that doesn’t affect all aspects of our being. I believe fear and anxiety to be a perfect example. While fear and anxiety are certainly a “soul” issue (our soul being comprised of mind, emotions and will), fear and anxiety can also greatly impact our physical bodies and certainly our spirit as well. Having said that, I believe fear and anxiety must be addressed in all areas of our being: spirit, soul and body. If you have ever suffered with anxiety, especially in its extreme forms, you know exactly what I mean! You can’t just “take a pill” (body) and have it go away. You can’t just “choose to think happy thoughts” (soul-mind/emotions/will) and have anxiety magically disappear. And please do not hear a disrespect or disregard for God and His Word (spirit), but it takes more than a half-hearted “spiritual Band-Aid” to cure anxiety. I believe a more comprehensive approach is needed to really get to the root of our fears and anxiety; and, in order to be completely set free from its bondage, you have to address anxiety across the whole person spirit, soul and body.
Having said that, however, I want to give you what I think is the ultimate antidote to fear and anxiety—God’s perfect love for you. Here’s the verse again:
“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.”
If I could begin to wrap our head around the truth GOD LOVES ME, my fears would be in their proper place and proportion in my life. If I could know how very much GOD LOVES ME, I could trust Him with everything. I could rest in Him no matter what circumstance I am going through. I would believe He is at work, even if I can’t see it, and He is working all together for my good. IF I really believed GOD LOVES ME, there would be peace in the midst of the storm. This is one truth that has been very difficult for me to embrace and believe it to be true for me. Oh, I could have given you the Sunday School answer and whipped off the correct answer with my tongue. I could believe it to be true for YOU. But it took a long time and a lot of hard work in my head and especially in my heart to not just know the right answer but to believe God loves ME. Unfortunately, it took the death of my son for me to finally get it.
In the aftermath of Nathan’s death, needless to say, I was having a tough time. I felt so alone. I felt as if even God Himself had left me. More out of anger and frustration with Him than anything, I really began to try and figure out not only where He was at in my grief, but just what kind of God was He?! It was in one of those times of wrestling with Him that I felt Him say to me, “My Son died too.” Quickly followed by, “For you.” I was left speechless. I don’t know how long I just sat in His words to me but as I did, for the first time the reality of just how much God loves me began to sink in…I mean REALLY sink in!
As a parent, I would lay my life down in a heartbeat for my child! Wouldn’t even have to think about it! But I can think of no one…no one I would give up the life of my child for. Yet, God loved me so much He gave His Son for me! I cannot even fathom that kind of love! And, as I stood by the bedside of my son as they took him off life support, I promise you if I had the power to do anything to save him and cause him to breathe and live again…DONE! But again, God had every power imaginable and yet again, God loved ME so much He chose not to!!! WHAT KIND OF LOVE IS THAT?!!! And if I can even begin to understand this kind of amazing, incredible love that God has for me, what in the world do I have to fear??? Why in the world would I question or doubt His best interest for me and my life? With that kind of love, I absolutely can rest in that peace that passes understanding knowing He is in control and His love for me is steadfast and sure. Will everything go the way I want it to? NO! Will I still struggle and suffer? YES! Will life be hard at times? YES! But if God loves me so much He gave the life of His very own Son for me, I can be confident He will do whatever is necessary to get me through my circumstances. I also need to remember this life is NOT all there is! And I will just add my own “Amen!” there!!!
Please do not hear this as one of those “spiritual Band-aids” I mentioned earlier. It is not. This is about perspective. This is about focus. If we focus on our circumstances and what’s going on around us, you can bet we are going to have issues with fear and anxiety! And lots of them! But if we keep our focus on God and His love in the midst of those very same circumstances, we will begin to see things from His perspective and in that find there really is very little room for our fears.
One more time…“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.”