BY: BRENNA GILLIS
E-MAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
BIBLE TEXT: 1 John 4:17-19, NKJV: “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.”
PERSONAL REFLECTION: I have read, recited, and prayed these verses numerous times over the past few weeks. It started with a conversation I had with a loved one in which I shared my anxieties about a particular project in my academic program. This insightful person reminded me that fear is counterproductive — it’s a torment, a distraction, not a helpful or God-inspired frame of mind. The next day I randomly opened my Bible to this passage; amazingly, my daily devotional ALSO referenced these verses. Perhaps God was trying to teach me something? I thought so….
When we envision Christ walking the earth during His 33 years of life, what do we picture? Based on my understanding of Scripture, I picture Him as being peaceful, joyful, and assured of not only His authority and purpose but also His Father’s love and provision. Well, “…as He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17, NKJV). I have noticed that when I am fearful, I lose awareness of the Father’s unwavering love for me. I lose awareness of His purpose for my life and His promise to be near me, to uphold me (Isaiah 41:10). This is not the way I, or any of us, is intended to live; we, too, can walk in constant assurance of God’s providence.
Prior to studying this passage, I had never equated “fear” with “torment.” But the comparison couldn’t be more accurate. The Father’s pure and unconditional love contains no trace of torment—and when we are firmly rooted in this love, our fears and worries will fade in the light of His perfection!
PERSONAL APPLICATION: I want to be more aware of God’s providence in all areas of life, including my academics, relationships, finances — everything! Through studying 1 John 4:17-19 over the past few weeks, I have begun to truly grasp how fear is simply incompatible with a deep-rooted assurance of the Father’s love and provision. I hope to continue the journey of understanding this truth, and I invite you to do the same.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive us when we lose sight of Your providence over every detail of our lives. Your love for us is unfathomable, powerful enough to expel any trace of fear or worry. Help us to find rest, confidence, and peace in Your perfect love! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Brenna lives in Mt. Juliet, TN with her husband, Scott. She was born and raised in Wisconsin, but moved to Tennessee three years ago to study nursing at Vanderbilt. Currently, she works as a psychiatric nurse practitioner at a private practice in Murfreesboro, and is also completing her doctorate degree part-time. When she is not working or studying, Brenna loves to spend time with her husband, family, and friends—and especially enjoys being active outdoors, dancing and Zumba-ing, and chatting with loved ones over a (large) mug of coffee! At Life, Brenna serves in the Broo, at the Kids’ Check-in station, and on the Ministry Team.