Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
– 1 John 4:15-21 NASB (emphasis added)
We’ve seen over the last few days how Peter dealt with fear. Let’s now look at the issue from John’s point of view. John was one of Peter’s partners in the fishing trade. Like Peter and John’s brother James, John was also part of Jesus “inner circle” of three apostles. He seems much quieter than Peter – except that he eventually wrote the Gospel of John, three letters, and the book of Revelation. We could say he was a strong man, comparatively soft-spoken but mighty with the pen.
For John, fear can be crowded out of the human heart by the growth of love. Therefore, to reduce fear, increase love. Because of this cause-and-effect dynamic, I included John’s counsel about fear in the context of what he was saying about love.
When we are afraid to do what’s right, love will enable us to do it anyway. Then we’re fulfilling these words from the Old Testament:
What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
– Psalm 56:3 KJV
Where do we get more love for God? By thinking more about the love He has shown for us. As John says, “We love, because He first loved us.”
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, thank You for letting us learn from John. Thank You for loving us as much as You do. With Your help, I will reciprocate Your love. I am unwilling for Your relationship with me to be one of unreturned love for You…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.