Overcoming Fear with Love

Some wonderful friends of mine have recently gone through the process of fostering and adopting. Our church supports both local and international children’s homes that seek to provide a safe place for children out of broken family situations. The stories of neglected, abused, and unloved children are chilling and devastating. I cannot personally relate to being unloved as I grew up in a wonderful, loving family. But I’ve talked with people, as I’m sure you have, that have never experienced unconditional love. Lack of love breeds distrust and fear. When we don’t see that God loves us unconditionally, we tend toward fear. In Romans 8:31-39 Paul acknowledges the common fears of condemnation and separation. Not experiencing love highlights these fears. But Paul’s main point in Romans 8 is the Father’s grand declaration of love—sending Jesus to address our personal sin, our relational separation, and our eternal condemnation. Jesus came so that we could be adopted into the Father’s family (8:15) and experience true love. Paul declares further that nothing—nothing that causes us to fear—can ever separate us from the love of God. God’s true love casts out fear. I don’t know your past or your struggles. I don’t know your fears. But Paul stridently affirms that no tribulation, distress, persecution, lack, danger, death, power, authority, ruler or anything in all of creation can separate us from God’s love (8:35-39). Paul’s list is intended to be exhaustive in the sense that no fear remains that is greater than God’s love. We must then learn to bask in the glorious, overcoming, wondrous love of God. How? Walking in prayerful, humble relationship with God is the only way to experience God’s relational love. And when we do walk with God, we can experience victory over fear.

Originally published as a Sunday School Lesson for the Biblical Recorder here.

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