(NEW MATERIAL in the September re-release! of Revealed in Ephesians~ The Mystery of Who I Am in Christ. This is from week 11 on the Breastplate of Righteousness.
“How does perfect love cast out fear? The Discovery Bible’s HELPS Word-studies indicates that the Greek verb tense for “casts” is present indicative active form. This simply shows the truth that casting out of fear is accomplished when we habitually walk in God’s love with the Lord and one another. This is not a one time event, but a Spirit-filled lifestyle. It keeps on happening! How do we experience this practically? Let’s look at verse 20 which says, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” When John wrote this he wasn’t starting to write about a brand new topic on forgiveness, but was expressing that walking in love and forgiveness is a doorway to freedom from fear.
The word “hates” is in the Greek present tense, indicating this is a continuous, habitual action. This reveals that John is addressing a person who is unwilling to forgive and is living in hatred, constantly angry and bitter. The phrase “cannot love God,” in the Greek present tense, means that you cannot truly love God in this state. Literally, walking in the love of God cannot coexist with walking in ongoing hatred towards anyone. If you say you do love God, yet you refuse to repent of your continuing hatred, you are a liar. Bold truth! What does this have to do with anxiety?
If you were emotionally wounded in childhood by a father who abandoned you, you will carry this injury and insecurity with you through life, until you are able to forgive your father for abandoning you and pray that God fills you with revelation about his heavenly love for you as your father. In this case, you would also need to cast out spirits of fear, abandonment and insecurity that have defined your life and attacked you because of that trauma. Parents are given by the Lord to protect their children and to love them and establish the foundation of security in them. So, when a parent is absent or doesn’t protect a child, the enemy has access to harass and harm. When we forgive the person who harms us and even forgive the parent who abandoned or didn’t protect us, then we stop walking in hatred and victimhood and we take back the ground from the enemy. We have authority in Christ to command him to leave. Then, pray that the Lord will fill you with his Spirit to replace the fear with his love. This is necessary because a great personal wound can overshadow a person. You may not trust men. You may not trust anyone and even have trouble trusting the Lord’s love. Forgiveness allows you to release the person from your judgement, releases you from hatred and insecurity, and releases the power of God’s love in your life to be secure in his Spirit and love.
This beautiful revelation about the Greek present tense opens up the truth that our casting out fear happens as we stand in forgiveness and the love of God. If God requires you to forgive and to battle, remember that he provides the ever-increasing strength, the armor and the authority for you to be more than an overcomer! Sometimes you need to stand against fear constantly throughout your day, especially when you are facing an intense situation. This would also involve fixing your heart on the love of God throughout the days when you are full of anxiety. This continuous standing against fear is similar to the act of forgiving someone over and over in a day. Jesus said, in Matthew 18:21-22, that we must forgive “seventy times seven” when sinned against. In the same way, we need the love of God to strengthen us to cast fear out over and over and over!”