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Overcome Fears to Grow Towards Perfect Love
October, 2017 - Issue #157
courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock
We are all afraid of something: flying, heights, public speaking, dogs, snakes, clowns. People will admit to the symptoms of their fear; few people will discuss the roots. Few will admit to the fears of rejection and of failure which cause our struggles with intimacy and contentment. Yet in the Bible, we happen upon these words: There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 1 John 4:18, NRSV

Few verses in the Bible haunt me the way this verse does, because I fear. I am afraid of making the wrong choice. I am afraid of being judged or rejected. I am afraid of being punished for my mistakes. These fears impede my ability to love and to receive love. They keep me from all that God has for me.

I am certain that I am not the only one: none of us loves perfectly. Thankfully, scripture doesn't simply point out our shortcomings, it also encourages us and shows us how to grow. The Apostle Paul wrote the following to his understudy, Timothy: For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7, NRSV

We can overcome our fears and anxieties through a mix of prayer and self discipline. Prayer connects us to the deep love of God. Self discipline forces us to risk and endure the resulting anxiety. We can loosen the hold fear has on us in our careers, in our relationships and in our recreation, through Christ and the deep love of God. It won't be easy or overnight, but we can grow towards the perfect love God desires us to experience. Don't be afraid!
Steve Peralta is pastor at Valencia United Methodist Church. 255-1301
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