Fearing God

 Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear. – 1 John 4:18

How does perfect love cast out all fear? Perfect love would be imagining all realities with God. So if you’re with him now, you’ll be with him tomorrow, and you’ll be with him on the day you die. And for all eternity. There’s no negative reality there. How could you fear? All realities are positive. We call that hope.

How do we fear God? Fear is focusing on a potential negative reality. If we fear God we focus on a potential negative reality. We fear him by realizing that he can allow time apart from Him in his universe, because he controls it. We fear him by imagining those realities without him [in the universe that he governs] and preferring those with him. We prefer his love as opposed to his wrath.

If I fear something bad, then I would be directed towards something good. If I’m scared of spiders, I won’t lead a hike through a cave a night. That will minimize my chance of encountering one. My dad is terrified of lighting, so he may not go on a walk if it’s cloudy outside. While definitely over-the-top, he’s probably not going to get struck by lighting. That’s exactly how I think we should fear God. We should take steps to insure that he’s with us, and minimize the chances that we’ll be apart from him. 

If I acknowledge the power of God, and fear time apart from him, I guide myself toward his will. The love of God is good. But the wrath of God is bad. I fear God by acknowledging that time apart from him is negative, and avoiding that. But if God is all-powerful, then he would also have control over the darkness. It may be the absence of his presence, but he created light and darkness. And would we even know light without the presence of darkness? untitled (1)

We can choose to love him, fear him and have a personal relationship with him, or we can choose to live apart from him, in darkness.

And his mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him. Luke 1:50

Transforming Fear into Hope

1 John 4:18 “Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear”

Fear is focusing on one negative possible reality. Fear is when we perceive a threat in our reality. It is the opposite of hope. Hope is focusing on one positive possible reality. Every fear has an equivalent counter of hope. I fear death but hope for eternal life.

Absolute fear is catastrophic: this is going to kill me. Mitigating fear is diminishing: this probably won’t kill me. There’s hope in it. You acknowledge that there is a chance that it doesn’t kill you. Anxiety is an addiction to fear.

There are always infinite possible hopes and fears in any moment, so the key is to properly mitigate. When you think I’ll definitely die today, you have to remember that the future is uncertain. If the future is uncertain, there are always good and bad possible outcomes. If there are possible good outcomes, thinking of those could transform your previous thought to maybe I won’t die to today. But remember, you have a very, very slim chance of dying today. So the good really outweighs the bad. I probably won’t die today.

That’s as far as I can get you without religion. But if you accept the thoughts of the afterlife, even death is not the end. Even the scariest I’ll definitely die today becomes something much different: I’ll definitely die today, but I’ll go somewhere much better.

So you see, with the addition of the afterlife, there is always hope. Even in our darkest days, because there’s always infinite potential positive outcomes. More than that, all outcomes are eventually positive.

[Please don’t misconstrue this as some strange way to say that if you kill yourself you’ll go to heaven. Because religious scholars really just aren’t sure about that. Don’t gamble with your soul.]