Read: 1 John 4:7-21
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. (v. 18)
A former football player recently told about one of the last conversations he had with the Hall of Fame running back of the Chicago Bears, Walter Payton. Walter was in failing health and everyone knew that it wouldn’t be long and cancer would claim another victim. The player asked Walter, “Are you afraid to die?” Walter replied, “Yes, of course, I’m afraid. I’ve never died before.”
It’s true that we human beings often fear the unknown. We have all faced this. We know what it’s like. Anxiety sets in and we fear the worst. Christians of all people, however, should not feel that way. Jesus himself tells us that we should not worry about anything; each day includes enough trouble without us adding needless anxieties (Matt. 6:21-34).
Why is that so? It is because this loving Father, who always provides for his children, doesn’t want us to fear punishment. Yes, deep down inside of us, we know what we deserve because of our sins. When a person approaches death, it can be intimidating. But John says here that we don’t have to be afraid. God’s perfect love drives fear away. If we trust Jesus, we can have confidence in the day of judgment. Christ has taken our place on the cross and cleansed us of our sins. As the Christmas carol puts it, “O tidings of comfort and joy”! —John Koedyker
Prayer: Loving God, calm our fears and grant us the peace that passes all understanding and never ends (Phil. 4:7). Amen.