“Love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it … shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love” (1 John 4:18 NLT, second edition).
“I hate you!”
When people say that in relationships, it’s often a sign that somebody’s trying to control somebody else. What’s beneath that control? It’s fear. Insecurity causes us to try to control others or resist the control of others. When you’re so insecure that all you think about is what others think of you, it destroys your relationships and disables your life.
It’s an amazing dilemma we have as human beings: We long to be close, but we also fear being close. We long to have intimacy with others, but we’re also scared to death of it.
Insecurity prevents intimacy and destroys your relationships. You can’t get close to somebody if there’s fear in the relationship. If insecurity destroys relationships, then what builds them? Love! Love builds relationships.
The Bible says in 1 John 4:18, “Love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it … shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love” (NLT, second edition). How does that work? How does love expel all fear?
Love takes the focus off of you and puts the focus on others. People ask me a lot of times, “Do you ever get nervous when you’re talking to a lot of people at Saddleback?” The answer is, “Of course!” But you know what makes the difference? I get the focus off of me and focus on the people in front of me instead. If I stood there thinking about what they thought of my hairstyle, I would have something to be afraid of, right? But the minute I start thinking about how much I love my church family and how we serve God together, all of a sudden the fear is gone.
It’s the same in any relationship. Focusing on the other person gives you the power to throw fear out of your life.
So how do you find that power to focus on other people? You realize how much God loves you. The moment you begin to understand how much God loves you, you don’t have to prove yourself any more. You don’t have to spend your life trying to impress other people, because you already know that God loves you.
Do you know how freeing and enjoyable it is to live life that way? Your identity and self-worth are not caught up in what others might think of you. When you’re secure in your relationship with Christ, you’re no longer pressured by everybody else’s expectations. God’s love frees you to love others fearlessly.
This devotional was originally published at Pastor Rick’s Daily Hope, where you can listen to messages, read more, and subscribe.
Interested in writing devotionals? While we can't promise to use every submission, feel free to submit one here.