How much does God love you? Consider what the apostle John wrote:
God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. —1 John 4:9–18 (NLT)
So what does that mean for you as you face your fears?
The apostle John gives us great insight into who God is. In the Gospel he wrote, John calls himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved” throughout the narrative, changing his very identity through his relationship with Christ. And in this passage, he doesn’t merely say that God is full of love, but that God is love. In other words, the word love is defined by God and is meaningless without him.
How does he know that God is love? He says at the very beginning of this passage, “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” As one of his disciples while he was on earth, John already had a good sense of Jesus’ love for him, but it must have blown him away when he realized that Jesus went to the Cross for him—that his sins were entirely washed away in that moment of supreme sacrifice.
So how does knowing that God loves us help us let go of our fears? It helps us to know we have a safe place to land—that no matter what happens to us, God is surrounding us with his perfect love.
In this passage, John says, “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.” As we soak in the magnitude of how much God loves us, it becomes easier to trust that he is caring for us no matter how difficult our circumstances.
Not only can we be free of fear in the midst of difficulty, but we are also free of any kind of fear of God. As John makes clear, “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”
That is your goal today—to soak in God’s perfect love and to really believe it. Each time you feel anxious or begin to worry about something, let God’s love wash over you. Right now, memorize the phrase, “Such love has no fear” and keep it at the forefront of your thoughts as you go about your day. It may be helpful to take a deep breath and even say that phrase aloud to yourself when you confront something you are particularly anxious about.
Lord, help me to truly understand that you never act outside of your love. You always surround me with your care and you will never abandon me for a moment. Help me to recognize my fears today and keep me centered on your love so that I can experience freedom from what I am tempted to worry over.
Excerpted from my book No More Fear: 40 Days to Conquer Worry. Click to gain 40 days of similar devotions.