Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
Go-To Verses from the Bible
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. I John 4:18
Good morning Prayer Team!
People of different personalities can successfully co-exist. So can people with different interests, different sports teams, and plenty of other differences. In Florida, where I live, it can be sunny and rainy at the same time. One can enjoy a cold drink on a warm day or a warm drink on a cold day.
However, two things that cannot co-exist are fear and love. One cannot express love while giving off a “vibe” of fear. One cannot feel love at the same moment they are afraid. One cannot give love at the same time that they are scaring someone. Love and fear—they cannot co-exist. Now, you might be saying can’t we love God but still be afraid of Him? My answer is, we can love God and be in awe of Him. If we come to God in love, there is no need to feel afraid.
In I John 4:18, we read today’s verse “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear.” There is practical application of this verse every day of our lives. When we encounter people—are we afraid of them, or do we look forward to speaking with them? If there is a loving relationship, then there is no need to fear. If the relationship is filled with fear, it is not going to be filled with love.
If you are someone who is the boss or manager over other people, would your employees rate you as more loving or someone they are afraid of? Same thing goes for employees, would your boss think of you in a loving way, or in a fearful way? Are you someone who works responsibly and who is trustworthy, whose work ethic the boss loves? Or are you someone who is moody and untrustworthy, someone whose work ethic the boss fears? Same thing goes for spouses. Does your spouse run home to you in love, or delay coming home out of fear? These are certainly hard and sobering questions, but these scenarios play out every day in real life.
When someone sees you, would their thoughts go first to love, or fear?
There are certain people who strike fear in others and look at that almost with pride, or with indifference, they don’t care what other people think about them. There are some people who take pleasure in knowing that people who are about to encounter them are sweating from stress.
I know I personally would feel devastated if my presence in the room raised someone else’s blood pressure. I hope no one ever has sweaty palms as they are calling me on the phone. I hope I give off a “vibe” of approachability, and that others know I am quick to forgive and don’t like holding grudges of having things between me and other people. Obviously, I don’t always succeed in showing love instead of inducing fear. There is probably no one who does it right all the time.
But the Bible tells us that we are always to seek love, and that when love is present there is no fear. On the contrary, if we are always implanting fear in others, we will miss out on love—on loving them, and on them loving us, because fear and love cannot co-exist. Light and dark do not co-exist. Darkness is the absence of light. And light (any amount of it) will conquer darkness. It’s the same thing with love. Fear is the absence of love. And where there is love, fear is absent. Where there is love, fear can be overcome. Where fear is put aside, love can blossom.
So ask yourself, seriously, when you interact with others, are you willed more with love than with fear? And when others interact with you, do you present yourself with love, or with fear?
Fear and love cannot co-exist. Each is a choice. You can choose to love. You can choose to fear. You can choose to love others. You can choose to make others afraid. Christ is very clear in His encouragement to us to choose love. Each of us will make dozens of choices today—many of those choices will show love or fear, many of those choices will have the power to relax others or to stress them out. Christ would tell us to choose love and not fear. The love and fear metric is a great way to make decisions. So use these two to check yourself and evaluate each decision you make today.
Lord, thank You for showing us Your example of love by dying on the cross for us. Thank You for the gift of forgiveness. Help me to love You more. Help me to show love to others. Help me to be a person who promotes love and doesn’t engender fear. In my decisions today, and in my challenges today, help me to remember to choose love over fear. Amen.
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now.
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Photo Credit: Raised to Walk
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