(Here is an audio version of this blog)
I want to offer you a free preview gift of our song ” No More Fear”. It is based on a phrase in the Bible, “Perfect love expels all fear” [1 John 4:18 NLT] which goes on to say, “if we are afraid it is for fear of punishment”. This bold statement deeply challenged Carey and I and coupled with conversations with friends, strongly encouraged us to journal our thoughts in a songwriting session at the beginning of 2020.
Listen to the song below
We wrote this song before ‘covid-19’ and ‘lockdown’ became pathos-filled household names in the UK, but we knew then that fear was a huge concern to address and we were also aware that defining fear, punishment and the love of God, has been the occupation of many profound thinkers and contemplatives for millennia.
As we began to explore these themes in writing this song, it didn’t take long for us to personally recall situations that seek to ‘threaten’ us, or others we know, with punishment. The punishment of failure (‘I’ve let myself or others down again’ or an over-perfectionism); rejection (‘what will others think of me?’, am I accepted here?’, or over-pleasing others); the oppression of physical punishment or the punishment of shame and blame, to name a significant few.
We sought refuge and wisdom from Bible, counsel and critique from others and looked at what we knew in relationship with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. As we explored this topic it became more evident to us that the perfect love of God is not just for some, not just for the good days and not just for warm, cozy feelings, but this robust, self-giving love in Jesus has welcomed us as children into family, sacrificially provided forgiveness and is an ongoing work of the Spirit.
Fears and anxiety might present in many different forms, like the fear of shame or the fear of failure, or, in this uncharted season of covid and lockdown, anxieties may show up in other ways too, but what the writer John contends in the verse above, is that this fear cannot limit us or define us.
This cannot be a proud or an arrogant position, for we may still encounter feelings of being afraid or of anxiety that presses in, but, the tried and tested love of God not only challenges this, but in Jesus has entirely defeated the rights of fear to hold on to us.
It is a practice. And a contemplation. It is a decision. And it is a journey.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we are genuinely loved. We are deeply known. We are fully forgiven.
I like how Eugene Peterson in ‘The Message’ restates Johns verse above:
“There is no room in love for fear.
Well-formed love banishes fear.
Since fear is crippling, a fearful life (fear of death, fear of judgment) is one not yet fully formed in love”
Cheering you on in these days as we journey together to discover more and more, that as Jesus has entirely defeated the rights of fear to hold onto us, when fear comes we know where to go.
When fear comes, there is a challenge to that.
When fear comes, as we restate, relearn and re-align with our identity as children of God, as loved, as fully forgiven, then that perfect love does indeed drive away the hold of fear.
God so loved the world he gave his only son for us
That we can know forgiveness, forgiveness
And fear no longer has a hold for we have come to know
The love of God in Jesus, in Jesus.
No more fear and yes to love. Your perfect mercy is still enough
No more fear and yes to love. I stand secure as a child of God
God so loved the world he poured his Spirit out on us
So we can come as children, his children
And those who once were far away can boldly face the day
His power working in us, within us
We love you; we love you God because you first loved us, you first loved us.
Geraldine Latty and Carey Luce
Based on 1 John 4:18
and 1 John 4:10
“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins”