1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
In my addiction, I lived in constant fear. Fear of daylight. Fear of discovery. I lost many hours of sleep to the terror of inevitable consequences. I knew I was embracing destruction and thus, I could not look at God. I could not experience his love and I felt nothing but guilt and shame. I knew the road back to God but it was too painful and I was to much a coward to face it. So, I lived in constant fear.
John says that God’s perfect love casts out fear. It is only in knowing God’s perfect love that I stop fearing punishment. Some will rightly point out that God loved me just as much two years ago as He does today. The difference is in my disposition towards him. When I am living in the spirit life, following him, I do not earn more love but I experience his love more and more. As I live in the spirit life, I come to truly know his love for me. When I am embracing the flesh life however, I distance myself from God. As I live in the flesh, I know the destruction of my flesh more and more.
God’s perfect love thus, works both ways. First, his love towards me gives me confidence that the most important thing in the universe cannot be taken from me. God’s love does not mean that this life will not bring me sorrow. This life can be filled with horrific trials, but God’s love gives me the confidence that no matter what happens, in the end, I still have God. When God holds me, I know that this life can do nothing to me that will separate me from him. What can man do to me? (Psalm 56:11)
Second, as I experience God’s love more, I grow to love him more in return. As I love and follow him more, I necessarily follow self less. I cause less destruction and I stop fearing the consequences of my own actions as I am no longer engaging in such destructive pursuits.
If I find myself living in terror and anxiety, I need to do whatever it takes to leave behind my destructive pursuits and draw near to the father who loves me perfectly. If I am living in constant fear of discovery of dark deeds, the only solution is to do whatever it takes to abandon those dark deeds and follow God.
I sleep like a baby now, not because I live perfectly, but because I no longer live in constant fear of my own destructive consequences. I know the peace and love of God as I am pursuing (not perfectly) him daily. I now live in his love, knowing that though this world will bring trials, nothing can separate me from his love. In his love, I can be fearless.