God's perfect love that casts out fear

Each summer we take a crew of middle school students to LifeChange Camp in Clinton, Missouri. It is always a great time for our students to be refreshed and challenged in their faith. This year I would say they were also profoundly encouraged. Our speaker spent some time sharing how our fears can be significant challenges to our faith, even preventing us from living out our faith in God.

During one of our morning sessions he asked everyone to be honest and write down every fear they have been struggling with recently. I didn’t know how this was going to go. Would the students open up and be vulnerable (a fear for many people)? How would they respond? I was anticipating all kinds of silly answers - which are also legit fears - things like heights, spiders, snakes, etc.

Then that evening our speaker took the whole session and one by one read every fear out loud and asked everyone to stand when he said their fear. The fears he started to read were not silly-answer-fears but fears that can truly overwhelm and cause a person to live according to the fear and not faith. They were also unique to what life is like as a middle school student. Looking back this was a gutsy thing to do and so many of the students were brave enough to stand when their fear was called out.

But he didn’t stop there, because he then used God’s word to speak truth, hope, and love into each fear that was mentioned.

I was once again reminded of how fear plays a big role not only in the lives of students but in everyone’s life. Something I appreciated was seeing how the truth of God’s word can expose the lies associated with each fear. The biggest truth that can begin to expose any fear is the truth of God’s love, his perfect love that casts out fear (1 John 4:18). I pray we may know Him and that we may live by faith in Him because of his great love for us.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Loren