There aren’t many things that I agree with FDR about. But our Depression-era president did have one powerful piece of wisdom that is just as applicable today as it was in the 1930s: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
FDR understood the principle that fear causes us to think and act in ways that aren’t in our best interest. When it comes to money, too many people live in fear of financial disaster, and it holds them back from doing things like giving and investing. If you let it, fear creeps through your entire psyche. If you live in fear of financial failure, that fear can grip you from the core and color your every thought. It begins to control your actions. Left unchecked, fear can make a slave of you.
Fortunately, there is hope for people who struggle with fear. There are all sorts of ways that money can trap us into slavery, and fear is one of them. But for every form of slavery, there is an antidote. And for fear, the antidote is love.
Love and fear may not seem to have much to do with each other, but these two ideas are related in an odd way. The apostle John gives us a great explanation of this in I John 4:18. Let’s take a look:
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.
All fear is rooted in mistreatment. You may have grown up fearing someone who hurt you or punished you harshly. Those actions didn’t come in love — in fact, if the people that you feared had been loving you well, they wouldn’t have given you anything to fear at all. And if you’re afraid of someone, you can’t love them well either. Fear and love cannot coexist.
So, if you live in financial fear, it’s important to figure out where that comes from. Did you witness poverty or financial abuse as a young person? Have the ups and downs of life battered you financially? Have you been subject to injustice or misfortune that has left you financially vulnerable?
Whatever the source of your fear is, you must recognize fear rendered useless by the power of love. Fear, after all, comes from Satan; God is the embodiment of love itself. And He tells us that His perfect love drives out fear.
If your heart is full of fear over your finances, the way to escape this slavery is to let God’s perfect love capture your heart. Realize that the hurts and misfortunes of your past that have left you afraid weren’t the work of God — they were the failings of people. Folks end up broke when they don’t use wisdom in handing their finances. And victims are abused because of the hurt and fear that motivates their abusers. Those things can have devastating financial implications, but God never designed us to work that way.
God’s perfect love is the key to escaping fear slavery. What is God’s heart toward your finances? His promises about provision, wealth and abundance are scattered all over scripture, and we’ve written about a lot of them on this site. For today’s purposes, though, let’s focus on this principle: God is a good father — a perfect father — who loves to give good gifts to His children. Luke 12:29-31 tells us more:
29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom,and these things will be given to you as well.
Fear melts away when we begin to believe that God’s heart of love for us is more powerful than the enemy’s plans for destruction. God has plans to prosper us, to give us hope and a future. Put your trust in His great love, and it will set you free from fear and empower you to live a life of blessing.
Photo by Meighan O’Toole. Used under Creative Commons License.