15 December 2012

The Opposite of Love; How Fear Keeps us From What we Want the Most

Everyone wants love in their life. Perhaps it’s our deepest yearning. But love eludes many Christians. Statistically, our failure rate is about the same as any other group. One may even feel they’re a catch. Finding the life long love seems rare still. Why the scarcity? Why the confusion? In order to get a clearer picture of how love works and why one might be missing out, we’ll do well by first looking at loves opposite; fear.

Many things come to mind when I think of fear; being overly cautious, the attempt to eliminate risk, timidity and nervousness. Who hasn’t been completely controlled by these at one point or another? But for some, the nature of fear is a way of life. A philosophy to live by. One’s fear may be found in an overly practical nature for example. And this philosophy may be so committed to saving a dollar that the thought of splurging on a bouquet of flowers may seem wasteful, unnecessary.

Everything must be logical to the devoted practical philosopher. All things attained must be for an actual need. No extra’s. As a general approach to life, everything must be verified and confirmed with the attempt to eliminate any sense of the unknown.

If you’ve ever traveled with someone like this, or worked on some kind of a project, you know how this way of thinking can suck the life out of any situation, any relationship. Being insanely practical is respected and applauded in some circles. It’s even treated as if it’s wisdom. But I’ve come to see it as one of the great enemies of love, and fear is at its core. There is a time for practicality, and we all need some level of it. But could an over-application be killing one’s chances for love?

The nature of love could not be farther from that of fear or extreme practicality. Love accepts that not all risk can be eliminated, and even celebrates its presence as adventure. Love is confident that things, however they turn out, will work for good. Love leaves room for spontaneity. Is willing to splurge. Love is thrilled at the mere possibility that something just might be. It’s whimsical, creative and imaginative. Taking a chance is at the heart of what love is.

We’re really talking about faith. Faith in the ability to believe in something before it’s materialized. People who walk around with the spirit of faith are much more likely to embrace the possibility of love. The very disposition of their heart and mind is inclined to believe in not only love for others, for themselves as well.
But the person who has given themselves over to the idea that all things must be proven in advance and insists on controlling as much of their own life as possible, will have a harder time with love. They want the benefit of love but they don’t believe in it enough to take a leap of faith for it. It’s just too risky after all.

All this talk about love and fear is really a spiritual one, and this is where we can see the difference most clearly. Overly practical ways have a way of creeping into the Christian faith, which stifles any real chance of a close love with our Creator. God in fact insists that we live from a spirit of faith, a crucial component of our, well, faith, and love. And if that’s not happening with God, love with another person is less likely, especially one of Gods design.

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15 NIV

If you aren’t experiencing the love you want with another person, maybe focusing on your love and connection with your Creator is what God wants for you right now. Nothing prepares us better for love with another than a close walk with Jesus our Savior. Get filled with his love, take a chance with Him, and maybe you’ll have the faith, courage and insight to pursue a love with another, as God wills for you.

“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 NIV