7Loved ones, let’s love one another, because love is from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. — 1 John 4:7
From time to time I’m told that I emphasize God’s love too much. What many people need, so I’m told, is to hear more about sin, obedience, and the fires of hell that await them if they fail to get right with God.
Now fear is not necessarily a bad motivator. Fear gets people thinking. Fear helps people make appropriate choices. The fear of hell has brought quite a number of people to God, as they think about the possibilities in the next life. So there is some basis for someone to say that we need to hear about fear in the Bible.
But there are also things that fear cannot accomplish. Fear does not build a good relationship between people. Fear does not make people desire to live right, and desire to make good choices, simply because they are good. Fear doesn’t make good people. So while fear has its place, its place is limited.
Let’s let John go on telling us a bit about it:
18There is no fear in love; rather, perfect love throws fear out. For fear has to do with punishment, and anyone who fears has not yet reached complete love. 19We love, because he loved us first. — 1 John 4:18-19
So love does overcome fear, though fear apparently has its place. Think of it this way: Fear drives us to the place of love. When we don’t come to a place of safety, when we insist upon living dangerously, fear will drive us to God who can banish the fear and make us safe.
Because God’s love is complete. He loves us enough to be concerned about what we do to ourselves. Whatever problems you have, he’s waiting with love to help you, whether those problems are big or small. God loves you so much that he’ll even use fear if that’s what it takes to get to you.
When you are sharing the good news to friends, neighbors, and coworkers, think about that. What is it that they need to hear?
We love, because he loved us first. — 1 John 4:19
Yes, I emphasize love, but it’s a balanced love, a love that cares, and that won’t accept anything less than the best for God’s children. Let’s learn to live in that kind of love!