Summary: In part 1 of this series about Love Without Limits, Dave looks at the connection between love and fear, showing how that connection operates in individuals and in the church as an organization.
Love vs. Fear
Love Without Limits, prt. 1
Wildwind Community Church
January 2, 2010
1 John 4:18 (TM)
18 There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
This is not a sermon about fear, it is a sermon (in fact an entire series) about love. I have talked to you enough about fear in this past year and I frankly don't think fear needs any more air time. :-) But today I want to talk to you about love and contrast a life of love with a life of fear. I have said before and I'll say again, I believe fear is one of mankind's primary emotions. We've gone over the devastating effects of fear in previous messages, and one thing we know fear does is it keeps us from being vulnerable. There are so many movies and TV shows that are based around a man (or less often a woman) with a fear of commitment. A fear of commitment is a fear of giving one's self to another. If one never gives one's self to another, one can never be really loved. For me to be really loved, I must commit to someone and allow her to know me. When I do this, she will soon see parts of me I'd rather she not see. She will see my insecurities, my fears, my doubts, my darkness, my idiosyncrasies -- basically, she will soon come to see that I am broken. It will be not long before she comes to know how truly I have fallen and cannot get up.
Fear is a barrier to love. If I am afraid to be vulnerable to another person and allow her to love me, than I will also be afraid to love her deeply. Loving someone deeply requires intimacy, doesn't it? And intimacy, again, requires vulnerability. If I try to love Christy deeply, then she may try to love me deeply in return. So if I fear being deeply loved, I will avoid deeply loving others. So fear is a barrier to love, keeping us both from fully loving and from fully being loved.
Now the strange thing is, nearly every person will tell you that all he/she really wants is to be loved. But we don't so much want it as wish for it. When you wish for something, you hope someday, some way, by some chance, it appears like magic. Your wishes require nothing of you. But when you truly want something, you set a goal, and begin working toward getting what it is that you want. Your wants cost you something. Sometimes a lot. So it is true that nearly every person wishes to be loved, but I don't think many people actually want it. And the proof that most people do not actually want it is that even though love is available to them (from God, from friends and family who care for them, etc.), they refuse to live in it, and/or are unable to see it all around. Many people, in fact, mistake the love of others for manipulation. Rather than receiving and living in love, they are actually suspicious of it. Suspicion of the love of others can only occur in the heart that itself does not truly love.
So all of this is why the Apostle John wrote those words,