I was reading Bill Loader’s thoughts on this passage and it made me think about the enormity of Paul’s conversion. Bill writes…
When Paul flipped, it was not to a set of unfamiliar beliefs. It was to a set of beliefs whose attraction had probably heightened his anxiety, fear, and anger, to the point where he broke down and began to be built anew.
Paul is having a serious “go” at the Galatians because they had reverted to practices and behaviour that was more about the old legalistic jewish traditions than the new and inclusive ways that Jesus had given them. Other preachers had “got to them” and convinced them that Paul had gone too far. Their fear got the better of them.
When you make choices based on fear then you protect yourself. But that’s not how we are called to live anymore.
Whoever wrote 1 John had it right…
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:18-19
I have found that the things I am most afraid of are those difficult things which l see within myself. When I am annoyed with or angry at another person it’s because I can see myself within them. My Dad used to say to me “There’s a lot of me in you, Geoffrey!” That annoyed me because it was so true. And the older I get the truer it becomes. But perhaps I am less afraid of that now than what I was.
Perfect love casts out fear. Yes.