Love never brings fear, for fear is always related to punishment. But love’s perfection drives the fear of punishment far from our hearts. Whoever walks constantly afraid of punishment has not reached love’s perfection.1 John 4:18 The Passion Translation (TPT)
I have always thought of this verse only as far as meaning that perfect love will eliminate fear of the future, the unknown, fear of what will happen if I move outside God’s will and fear of what He might ask if I commit myself to Him completely. I only thought of how I would be free from fear if I understood how much God really loves me. I did not realise how He intends to free me of insecurity if I truly loved Him. I did not know how much less I would be concerned with who I am, how I am perceived and what I am good at, if it was no longer about me at all.
C.S. Lewis concludes Mere Christianity with this thought. He addresses our fears of losing ourselves – our originality – if we submit to Christ fully. He uses a beautiful illustration and makes his point by saying that even though the same light shines on all of us, it does not make us look the same, but shows how different we really are. He puts it this way: “The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him.”
For if you choose self-sacrifice and lose your lives for my glory, you will continually discover true life. But if you choose to keep your lives for yourselves, you will forfeit what you try to keep.Matthew 16:25 TPT
I have experienced how this verse does not only apply to the eternal life that awaits us, but also to our lives while on earth. When we are no longer concerned with how I come across, with how I distinguish myself, with what people think and say about me, He can make us into who He really intended us to be. The only way we can be free to be ourselves without fear is if we draw people’s eyes to Him and not to ourselves.
We are not perfect, but He is – and the more of Him we allow to manifest in us, the less our own imperfections will matter. We are either concerned with what the world thinks or with what God wants to do in us. We can’t have both. If we care about what the world thinks, we will lose more and more of ourselves by trying to conform to what is acceptable in the world’s eyes – we will become more and more like everyone else – even if we think we are original. When we are united with Christ, we will allow him to make us new and, little by little, become the one-of-a-kind creation He made us to be. He gave you an original appearance and He is the only one who can give you an original heart.
Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis
When your life, and your testimony, is truly no longer about you, you are free from fear of judgement or rejection. Of course, in a world where we are encouraged to distinguish ourselves, to matter, to make a difference, we need to constantly remind ourselves of who is truly important. Whether I make a difference does not matter at all, much less whether I will be remembered for it. God makes all the difference, in our own hearts and in how we live our faith. If we follow Him, we get purpose thrown in and the best part is that we don’t even have to go looking for it. It doesn’t have to be one big thing, it can be a million little things that no-one remembers, but that mattered to God and that mattered in his great design.
Cause all that really mattered
Did I live the truth to the ones I love?
Was my life the proof that there is only One
Whose name will last forever?Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Bernie Herms / John Mark Hall / Matthew Joseph West
Only Jesus lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Royalty Network, Capitol Christian Music Group, BMG Rights Management