I wrote the post below a few years ago but as I'm slowly making my way through 1 John, I thought about it again this morning in a new light. Here's my original post and then some thoughts from this morning:
dread: to fear greatly; to be in extreme apprehension; to be reluctant to do, meet or experience; terror or apprehension as to something in the future
I heard someone mention this word not long ago and it’s made me take a look at how much influence dread has in my life. I think I've underestimated its power.
Dread can be outright terror about doing something. It's a paralyzing fear of something awful happening. But it can also be a nagging apprehension about the ‘what ifs’ in life – the kind of below-the-surface feeling that prevents us from sleep or from stepping out in faith. In other words, dread can cripple us.
Dread is a lie straight from the master-liar. Imagining what might happen is not keeping our minds and hearts focused on Truth. None of those ‘what ifs’ we come up with are really TRUE. It’s what the bible calls ‘vain imagination’. In fact, I don’t think it’s too strong to say that dread is sin.
In Deuteronomy 1:29 God says, “Dread not, neither be afraid…”
Dread declares God to be unfaithful. It’s saying (without coming right out and saying it), “God, You aren’t enough. If ________ happened, I couldn’t handle it. When I have to face _________, You won’t get me through it.”
What do you dread? Your next mammogram? Loss of a loved one? An uncertain future?
We can lean into God’s strong arms when dread creeps in. His presence, His nearness, His powerful control over all of our circumstances brings peace and trust. (I’m speaking to myself here.) Maybe you need a counselor like I do.
Lord, forgive me for rehearsing ‘what ifs’ and by doing that, declaring that You aren’t enough for me and my circumstances. Your grace IS enough for whatever You have for me. Remind me of Your promises. Help me rehearse the Truth.
I read this verse today:
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. 1 John 4:18
"Perfect love" drives out fear and its evil stepsister, dread. But HOW? And what in the world is "perfect love?"
This idea of love that is perfected or completed is all throughout 1 John.
Perfect love is living out God's love for me by loving others, completely depending on his Spirit in me to actually do it!
It's the weirdest solution to fear, don't you think? How would loving others deal with my fear and dread?
Fear shifts all our focus onto ourselves and how whatever we're fearing will affect us. It makes worry, anxiety and dread boss us around.
Loving others with Christ's love gets me out of myself, my perspective, my small world of me. Actually trusting in God's ability to work His love through me is incredibly powerful in setting me free from fear and dread because I experience His life flowing through me. It doesn't take long to realize that I have a huge God living in me. And fear is destroyed in the process because which of the things I dread can possibly compare to His love?
Something for me to think more about for sure...