I was afraid that one day he would unleash all his anger on me
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:18).
Being controlled by fear is devastating. We first see this in the Garden. After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they hid from God. Adam and Even had never known fear, but when sin entered in, fear suddenly controlled their lives. This fear became part of our makeup as humans. Sin wrote it into our spiritual DNA.
Evil behavior alienated us from God and caused us to think of him as our enemy. Notice the cause. Evil behavior, what the Bible calls sin, was and is the problem. Adam and Eve’s choice led to evil behavior. The root of their sin was the choice to believe the serpent’s lie. The result was evil behavior. Sin is unbelief. Sin originates with unbelief and is defined as evil behavior.
Sin can cause believers to look at God the same way. I was letting sin and fear and wrong thinking dictate how I approached God. When you think he is your enemy, you tread lightly.
My relationship with God was built on my fear. With every sin, this fear grew stronger inside me. I felt that God was going to punish me at any time. I didn’t know how–I just knew God’s punishment was up ahead.
This kind of thinking reveals that we don’t fully understand the nature of sin and the punishment God requires. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Nothing else will do. That’s what we are ultimately afraid of. Jesus died for us to “free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:15).
John had us in mind when he wrote, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). That was me. And as I’ve learned, fear is where many believers live. Evil behavior stirs this up and causes us to wonder, “How could God love me?”
There is only one way out–the finished work of Jesus Christ.
Here is good news. God is not now and never was your enemy. If you need to be convinced, take another look at the cross. “In this is love,” John wrote, “not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10 ESV). This act reconciled you to God to “present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:22). God loves you, and the grace he lavished on your to provide redemption, the forgiveness of sins, is the proof.
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