Devotional: May 30th
THE EXPULSION OF FEAR
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath punishment; and he that feareth is not made perfect in love. - 1 John 4:18
You cannot love and fear the same person, unless the love is of a very rudimentary and imperfect character. But just as when you pour pure water into a bladder, the poisonous gases that it may have contained will be driven out before it, so when love comes in dread goes out. The river, turned into the foul Augean stables of the heart, will sweep out all the filth before it, and leave everything clear. The black, greasy smoke-wreath, touched by the fire of Christ’s love, will flash out into ruddy flame like that which has kindled them. And Christ’s love will kindle in your hearts, if you accept it, and apprehend it aright, a love which will burn up and turn into fuel for itself the now useless dread.
Inconsistent as the two emotions are in themselves, in practice, they may be united by reason of the imperfection of the nobler. And in the Christian life they are united with terrible frequency. There are many professing Christian people who live all their days with a burden of shivering dread upon their shoulders, and an icy-cold fear in their hearts, just because they have not got close enough to Jesus Christ, and kept their hearts with sufficient steadfastness under the quickening influences of His love, to have shaken off their dread as a sick man’s distempered fancies. A little love has not mass enough in it to drive out thick, clustering fears. There are hundreds of professing Christians who know very little indeed of that joyous love of God which swallows up and makes impossible all dread, who, because they have not a loving present consciousness of a loving Father’s loving will, tremble when they front in imagination, and still more when they meet in reality, the evils that must come, and who cannot face the thought of death with anything but shrinking apprehension. There is far too much of the old leaven of selfish dread left in the experiences of many Christians. " I feared thee because thou wert an austere man - and so, because I was afraid, I went and hid my talent, and did nothing for thee " - is a transcript of the experience of far too many of us. The one way to get deliverance is to go to Jesus Christ and keep close by Him.
There is only one wise thing to do, and that is to make clean work of getting rid of the occasion of dread, which is the fact of sin. Take all your sin to Jesus Christ; He will - and He only can - deal with it. He will lay His hand on you, as He did of old, with the characteristic word that was so often upon His lips, and which He alone is competent to speak in its deepest meaning. " Fear not, it is I," and He will give you the courage that He commands.
God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of "power, and of love, and of a sound mind." " Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the spirit of adoption whereby we cry Abba! Father," and cling to Him as a child who knows his father’s heart too well to be afraid of anything in his father, or of anything that his father’s hand can send.
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