"Now the word of Yahweh came to me, saying," Jeremiah 1:4 WEB
365. Jesus Dies on The CrossaMatt. 27:45-54; bMark 15:33-39;cLuke 23:44-48; dJohn 19:28-30a45Now b33when the sixth hour had come, c44darkness came a45over all b33the whole land until the ninth hour. b34At a46about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, b34"Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is, being interpreted, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" b35Some of them who stood a47there, when they heard it, said, b35"Behold, a47this man is calling Elijah." d28After this, Jesus, seeing that all things were now finished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I am thirsty." d29Now a vessel full of vinegar was set there. a48Immediately one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar. d29So they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop, and held it to his mouth, a48and gave him a drink, b36saying, "Let him be. Let's see whether Elijah comes to take him down a49to save him." d30When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, c46crying b37out a50again c46with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit! d30It is finished." Having said this, he bowed his head; c46he breathed his last a50and yielded up his spirit. a51Behold, c45the sun was darkened, a51the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split. a52The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. a53And coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, they entered into the holy city and appeared to many.
For most of my life I thought that the opposite of fear was bravery or courage. It seems to make sense: brave people have less fear than the rest of us wimps. What makes sense from a human perspective may not be what God wants us to know.
In 1st John 4:16-21, we see the opposite, or antidote, to fear from God’s point of view:
4:16 We know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and he who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. 4:17 In this love has been made perfect among us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as he is, even so are we in this world. 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has punishment. He who fears is not made perfect in love. 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us. 4:20 If a man says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who doesn’t love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 4:21 This commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should also love his brother. [WEB]
Now we see that courage is not the opposite of fear. LOVE is the opposite of fear! How does that make sense? What’s the difference between courage and Love?
Courage is an internal feeling I have that gives me the ability to do things that other fearful people cannot or will not do. Notice all of the “me” related words in that sentence: internal, I, me, other. Courage is too closely related to pride to be something that God would want for us. Courage is something that “I” create. “Love” is something that God alone creates.
Love is a gift from God that connects me to him and to the people in my sphere of influence. When I recognize the depth of love God has for me it is easier to overcome the things that once caused me to be afraid. When I am connected to God through this love, I am the beneficiary of His power. When I am connected by love to the people around me, I am the beneficiary of their love and support as well.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear. . . .” To the degree that I am fearful, my ability to love and be loved is limited. How do I change it? Humble myself before God and ask Him to make me a more loving and lovable creature.
You gotta know this passage because it will change the way you love, the way you are loved, and the way you face the fears and challenges this world will surely send your way.
J. Brent Eaton