Because I'm a rookie at the whole gardening thing, and so I ran into a problem that most amateurs will encounter at some point: ignorance.
In 1 John 4, the Apostle gives us a similar scenario when it comes to our faith. He reminds us that fear is the enemy of faith; fear will eat away at the walls of our faith, boring holes until our faith collapses and the works of our faith die away.
LISTEN TO THE MESSAGE ONLINE
Let's be clear: fear is a natural reaction to what we perceive as a threat against our well-being, and in the right context, fear can be healthy - it could be the correct response for protecting oneself or someone else from danger. But groundless fear produces needless worry - that is harmful, not healthy - and more often than not, our energy gets put into living in fear. It might be a fear of sin. Maybe of failure. Maybe we're just afraid to live life itself (don't worry, if that's you join us next week - we’ll be dealing with these areas!)
[Prov. 24:16] “Though a righteous man falls seven times, he gets back up again.” What does that mean? It means that fear can't keep us down! If we are part of God's kingdom, then we have the ability to overcome fear. This is important to remember: Faith is the spiritual force that drives God’s Kingdom; fear is the spiritual force of Satan’s kingdom. We are saved, healed, changed, equipped, fulfilled -- all by faith.
Which means that for our faith to be strong, we have to deal with the fears that would attempt to bore in and undermine that faith. That's why John makes this powerful statement:
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." [1 John 4:18]
So how do we find this "perfect love" in our lives?
The Apostle John reminds us of three important factors when it comes to matters of God's love at work in our faith:
1. PERFECT LOVE IS SUPPLIED BY GOD AND GOSPEL FOCUSED
[I John 4:7-11]
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
2. PERFECT LOVE IS EMPOWERED BY GOD AND MISSION PURPOSED
[1 John 4:12-16]
No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
3. PERFECT LOVE IS PROMISED BY GOD AND KINGDOM MINDED
[1 John 4:17-18]
By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.