I recently heard Rick Warren (popular pastor in the USA) state that he doesn’t fear God. Those that are close to God don’t.
I really like Rick… I enjoy listening to him.
This day though everything within me disagreed with what he was saying. And I went immediately to God in prayer as I really like the guy and he hasn’t led me wrong yet… unfortunately Rick must have been having an off day.
My spirit disagreed with what he said. This attitude of not fearing God brings pride and complacency. No matter how many books you have written, years you have preached… WE all have been told to fear God.
The problem is that in today’s society, we equate fear with harsh punishment, pain, no love, loneliness… so many different things that when we really dig deeper in to it we realize that none of those attributes of fear really equate to God.
The fear that God requires is one of respect.
We need to have a healthy fear. The bible in fact clearly states this several times:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.
And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
But in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
So that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”
A Song of Ascents. Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.
And yet there are so many more verses in the bible…
In my limited mind, here is what I equate this fear to… when I was a child, I feared my foster mother. I had a healthy fear of not disobeying her rules, doing anything wrong or even disappointing her. As I grew older that same fear turned in to great respect and even greater love. The rules as a child still applied, that fear of doing something wrong or disappointing her still applied but as an adult I understood the reason for all of that…. she loved me! If you are a parent, I am sure that you may understand the role reversal very well. As much as we want our children to ‘like us’, we know that there are times that they will ‘hate us’, no matter what we do.
But yet, we still love them. God loves you. And in HIS love and wisdom he has called you to obey.
Final thought: Whether we are a young Christian or mature in the faith, we still need to have a heavy respect and fear of God. It is when we become relaxed and think we “got this” that we end up messing things up very badly because of pride. Forget what the world is trying to tell you… listen to your bible and be obedient… Fear God.
Prayer: Abba Father, how we adore you. Your thoughts and ways are so much higher than ours we can’t even comprehend. The world has turned us against the idea of fearing you. “Why should you even fear something that can’t been seen?”, they say. They laugh and mock us for this fear. But Father, forgive them. Forgive those that try to teach not to fear you. May we be obedient to your will and your way even when so many are against us. In Jesus name we pray. Amen
May God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you.