Part of growing with God is learning to unlearn things that we got wrong, but didn’t know it. Sometimes we learn a deeper truth about something that we thought we already understood.
That’s what happened to me when I recently read 1John 4:18–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.
I always understood that verse to mean that when we have the love of God in our lives, we don’t have to be afraid, that there’s no room for fear if we have love. The revelation came when I focused on the fact that love casts out fear.
Fear is not of God, it is a spirit from the enemy. When we receive Christ and in the infilling of the Holy Spirit, we are filled with His love. When we receive that love, fear is cast out of us. God does the work for us, deliverance by the Holy Spirit.
We don’t like to think that we can be carrying around a spirit of the enemy, but if we live in fear, that’s exactly what we’re doing and the love of God can deal with it. Yes, you can rebuke it and demand that it leave you, but you can also submit your heart to the love of God and be so filled with His goodness that His perfect love will cast out this wicked assault against you.
Once you are free of fear, He can make you perfect and then you can trust Him completely. You can’t say that you love God if you live in fear. To love Him is to receive love from Him, and His love will remove everything that stands in the way of intimacy with Him.