For years, I was driven to ensure people liked me. Having unhealthy self-acceptance issues, I needed kudos from others to make me feel better about myself. There was always the anxiety that others would discover the frightened, unquieted person that I was. 1 John 4:18 states that genuine, solid agape love cannot be produced from a fearful heart, “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.” Love cannot be perfected with a heart directed by fear. Fear sets your heart on self not others. Liberating your heart allows you to sincerely focus on others enabling you to carefully value and edify them.
Matthew 22:37-39 says it this way, “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” You cannot love God with all your heart, soul and mind unless you completely trust Him. If there is fear, uncertainty, and doubt in your heart, you have not completely trusted the Lord and cannot wholly love Him. If you have a fearful heart, you often don’t like yourself. If you don’t like yourself, loving others becomes shallow, performance base love.
Proverbs 29:25 is a smack down for us who want to 100% show our care and concern for another, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” If you are in a snare, you cannot let go and love. Yet, when you are safe and secure, there is freedom to minister and serve others. Throw off the snares in your relationships.
Galatians 1:10 is powerful, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Do not love to please others which becomes more important than pleasing God. Love is never a way to win favor from others.
“Fear not” is the most common command in scripture. Caring for others out of a pure, healthy heart without fear becomes such a joy and testimony to others. Loving others as you love yourself is wholeness and fulfillment. Why? It originates from the heart of God.