It finds us at corporate desks and backyard barbecues, at county jails and beaches at sunset. It paralyzes us with doubt and bursts with frenetic energy. It is irrational and rational, trivial and monumental, tangible and unseen.
Fear is crazy persistent.
Fear is on my brain today for a lot of reasons, but something else is casting it out - something that curls the corners of my mouth when they should be stuck in an anxious frown. The Lord has made an eternally significant introduction that breaks all the ways fear might bind me. Because perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18) and I know perfect love through Christ, my fear is cast out from me like the sun casts out the dark in the morning.
Fear of rejection? Cast out.
Fear of failure? Cast out.
Fear of the future? Cast out.
Fear of death? Cast out.
Fear of loss? Cast out.
Fear of sadness? Cast out.
Fear of darkness? Cast out.
Fear of deadlines? Cast out.
Fear of missed opportunities? Cast out.
After all this casting out, what does the light of Perfect Love leave us with? Freedom. When fear is cast out by perfect love, freedom is what remains. And we can not "get better" at being free. Christ accomplished our freedom and cast out all fear when He secured our sanctification.
What does it look like to work out of freedom? To have relationships out of freedom? To start a family out of freedom? To meet your neighbors, serve your brothers, and bless your enemies out of freedom?
What does it look like to live out of freedom instead of fear? Well, you won't hold your breath for the response, for one thing. Your acts of kindness and grace and toil in the workplace or in the living room do not depend on being accepted, affirmed, or approved.
When you live out of a place of freedom, you are accepted, affirmed, and approved already in Christ.
And our freedom is not temperamental or conditional - we need not be wary that our performance might effect our access to freedom. When Christ spoke the words, "It is finished," He secured our freedom - forever. We know this is true because He has never made a promise He hasn't kept.
This is a song I think a freed person might sing. Maybe you'll sing along today. Is Christ your best thought, highest affection, and greatest inheritance? I pray I can sing these things in freedom with an honest heart!