Thursday, November 6, 2008

Learning to Fear God

I have recently been seeking to address my tendency toward a lack of love, and toward being excessively concerned about what others are doing. Dave and I are trying to become far more concerned about our own sins than the sins others may be commiting! I have realised that one of the roots of my lack of love is a lack of the fear of God. In John 6:44 Jesus says: "How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?". We should follow Christ, not our Christian neighbours. We seek the approval of the Almighty, not the affirmation of Christian leaders.

The actions (or lack of actions) of other Christians worry me because I depend too much upon them to affirm my own choices and beliefs. Ultimately though, what others do or think should not effect how I perceive my own Christian life. What matters is what God thinks, and what God would have us do. Even the Internet can, for me, become another way to seek to affirm myself through finding someone who agrees with me. What matters, though, is whether God agrees. If I am convinced that the fear of God requires me to heed a certain part of the Bible that others appear to disregard, that is all the motivation I should need.

It has been a real help to realise that it is the fear of God that leads me to seek to . . .

  • Treasure Jesus and the gospel
  • Participate in church life
  • Pray
  • Resist the temptation to speak ill of others
  • Fill our home with good, positive, and lovely things, sounds and experiences
  • Care about the poor and the persecuted church
  • Faithfully care for our home
  • Be hospitable
  • Forgive
  • Welcome children into our home and family
  • Study the Bible
  • Reach out to our neighbours
  • Do what I've promised or commited to do
  • Steward our money and be generous
  • Use my time wisely
Focusing on fearing God, rather than on what others are doing, has already been a great help to me. For example, yesterday I got up late after being awake from 5 - 6am when Dave left to travel. I was tempted to compare myself to others, thinking about how my neighbour gets up early to go to work. Then I asked that simple question: am I fearing God. The answer was "yes", because I'd stayed in bed in an effort to have the energy to enjoy homegroup that night. This has been a real struggle for me recently! When we're fearing God, finding someone else "like us" who affirms the way we are is suddenly less important. What matters is how we believe our actions reflect (or do not reflect) obedience to God's priorities for our lives.

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