Let’s have a refresher on LOVE so you better understand what Love means. Definitions taken from Dictionary.com
1. A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
3. A person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
5. (Used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would you like to see a movie, love?
Clearly, LOVE and FEAR are total opposites! The Bible doesn’t tell us that God is FEAR, it tells us time and time again GOD IS LOVE (1 John 4:7-8, 1 John 4:16, and we can find, understand, and come to give LOVE through Him. We should see God with eyes of LOVE and have a passion, deep personal attachment and affection towards Him. Christ should be our beloved, just as John called Him. We should see God as our FIRST love because He is the first to love us – so much so that even when we didn’t love Him, He loved us in spite of arrogance (Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:4-5).
When we serve God from a place of Love instead of fear, we are able to draw near to Him because we have a desire to do so in our hearts. Think of it this way, if you get into a relationship with someone that is abusive and hurts you often, you tend to develop a fear of that person that can lead to separation, anxiety, resentment, anger, rage, distrust, constant pain, and other hurtful feelings/emotions. These things make you shut down – even if you stay in the relationship, there is no intimacy that makes you closer because you have to spend most of your time “protecting” yourself or “preparing” for the fear you feel. Have you ever seen a relationship like this survive?
Normally in these types of relationships someone ends up leaving the situation altogether, someone ends up going to jail for the continued abuse, or someone ends up dead as a result. It is the same with our relationship with God. If you serve God from a place of fear instead of love – you will either separate yourself from God (backslide or completely renounce God and go into rebellion), you will find yourself in bondage to the fear and you will end up in spiritual or mental jail where you have no peace, joy, or power in God (because you have no relationship with Him); or you will experience a spiritual death that leads to physical death and = eternal damnation, sending you to the very place you feared in the first place (when you serve God out of fear, you never become a willing vessel for God, in fact your fear is your god).
It is this fear that keeps the church divided, upholds religious rituals and traditions instead of operating under the direction of the Holy Spirit in unity under Christ as we are called. This keeps others in bondage and separated from the truth and power of God that is available to all who choose to serve Him freely. FEAR is a big tool in the church to keep people in line but the reality is, it hasn’t done a good job because fear doesn’t change people, it paralyzes them right where they are….