The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge ~ Proverbs 1:7
One of the hottest topics in the Bible is fear. Jesus tells us often not to be afraid. So why do we see so many other Scripture references that tell us to fear God? I found a pretty good answer to this at my church on Sunday when a visitor talked about the two kinds of fear.
I must admit that my mind started to drift when he spoke about the kind of fear some pets have when they see their masters rolling up newspapers to punish them. I immediately started daydreaming about our first family pet, a sheltie named Lady, who came to us via a rescue center. She had been abused and needed a new environment. We never had to punish her. All she needed was love. She was so eager to please. She had the kind of fear that our visitor was talking about, that is, you love someone so much that you never ever want to let them down. This is called "reverential fear." Can you imagine loving God so deeply that you want to avoid bad things so that you never have to see Him disappointed?
If you fear God because you are afraid of Hell, you are no different from a dog who fears the rolled up newspaper. If you fear God because you love Him so much that you don't want to let Him down, you have reached the kind of relationship that God wants. It is the same relationship my family had with Lady. She would do anything to please our family including rolling over, jumping through hoops, kicking the soccer ball on command and even scoring goals.
Imagine if we could have reverential fear in all of our relationships. Instead of fearing consequences from missed curfews, our children would say, "mom and dad, I love you so much that I refused that tempting offer my friend made me because I couldn't bear to hurt you or disappoint you." We would say to our spouse, "honey, I didn't follow the crowd because I knew it would make you sad." We would say to our friends, "I love you so much that I am going to take the time to share Jesus with you. I simply refuse to live in tropical nirvana for all of eternity without having you to share it with me." If your name happens to be Wayne, Chris, or Olivier, I am referring to you. This blog is for you and all the others in this world who do not know that an all-powerful, all-loving God exists. Perhaps it is my love for my Master, my reverential fear of Him that compels me to write daily so that I never have to look Him in the eye and see Him crying because you aren't there, because I failed to get the courage to share the Good News with you. I know that He is using me to reach you and every day I will roll over, jump through hoops, and score goals if that is what it takes to call attention to the One I serve. I see a vision in my head of Him smiling as He wraps His arms around you, His lost sheep. That is my reason for my existence. I am here for you.