What your Valentine can’t do …

Recently I was chatting with a group of young men and I put it to them that fear is part of their everyday lived experience and that they would be foolish if they were to deny it. I referred them to the immediate response of Adam in Genesis 3 after his disobedience. As a result, he became afraid and because of shame, attempted to hide from God (verse 10). I asked them to think about that and consider Adam as the exemplar for all of humanity ever since.

A few weeks later I was speaking with a group of boys and girls on the text from 1 John 4:18 “…. perfect love casts out all fear …..” We spoke about things which are frightening , both silly and serious (but equally real) and I put it to them that only a perfect love can give perfect security. The perfect love of God.

You see, all of our fears emerge from a very real, deep and personal angst that is rooted in a very real, deep and personal separation from God. Our fears are as varied and complex as we are and can manifest in any number and combination of ways. Common fears are: being alone; being rejected; being imperfect; being the odd one out; being found out; being guilty. Their source remains the same.

Consequently, like Adam, our immediate response is to find something to put in the gap between ourselves and our Creator. We might try to put barriers there, attempting to screen out or deny the truth and glory of God in order to avoid the implications and conclusions they would lead us to. Alternatively, we might try to put bridges there, hoping to close the gap by the merits of our own effort, duty and hard work. Human history is littered with such attempts, however neither option provides the solution which undoes the separation.

In both of my recent interactions I finished by speaking about Jesus because He really is the only answer to the problem. The Perfect Lover of our souls must span the chasm and cover the distance between us. Only God himself can close the gap, and in the person of Jesus He has made this possible. He has come near to us. In Christ, the invite has been extended to all who will hear and believe, to move from separation to restoration by repentance and faith.

As a follower of Jesus, it is good to (re)read these words and know their truth:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

The perfect love of God is a person. His name is Jesus and He casts out fear.

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