There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18a).
Fear is not a new enemy; this old foe has been around since the garden. It has brought some of the greatest men and women to their knees in mere seconds. God says “fear not” more than 300 times in the Bible.
You might be living in fear today. From eroding marriages to the pain of loneliness, from powerful addictions to uncontrollable anger, our lives are filled with circumstances that invite fear to move in and take control of us.
You’ve probably asked the obvious question: “How do I get rid of it?” In fact, many have assumed that the opposite of fear is courage, and if those people could just muster enough courage to face down their greatest enemies, they might vanquish fear in their lives for good.
But it might surprise you to learn that the opposite of fear is not courage. In fact, courage is the by-product of something that more closely represents the opposite of fear.
There is only one way to cast out fear: with love.
When you choose to express love toward others, you release fear. When you live with an urgency to show grace and mercy to people in your life, you activate the same invincible, fear-killing love that Jesus expressed on the cross.
The reason for this is that selfless love takes the focus off yourself and your problems. It doesn’t make the problems go away, per se, but it does make it difficult to spend hours a day obsessing over the thing that has you frightened. Genuine kindness requires spending time thinking about other people and what they might be going through.
You might reply that one kind act isn’t likely going to end a lifetime of depression or anxiety. I agree. But underneath your emotional and mental struggles often lies a deeper, spiritual wound. If the struggle is ever going to go away, the deeper wound must first be healed. The problem in most cases for people struggling with emotional difficulty is that they are often consumed with fear and anxiety in a way that makes them unwilling to look at the wound. If fear were removed or diminished, these people might be able to find the courage to face their wounds from the past.
In other words, a life committed to loving others is the first step toward treating what ails you. Your shift in focus improves your chances of getting control of your emotional well-being.
So, go love. When you operate in love, live by it, commit to delivering it, and stay zealous about sharing it, fear will have no room to live inside you.