Fearing but not Fearful

Do you fear God?  Do you see Him for the awe-inspiring Divine Being that He is?             Or have you created God into a soft little cuddly lamb that grants your wishes much like a genie does in those old fairy tales?                                                                                          I have a suspicion that many of us see God the Father as well as Christ the Son as gentle, overly compassionate, always forgiving grandfather figures. Perhaps it’s a combination of Sunday School teachings and an ingrained desire to stay away from the ‘scary’ parts of the Bible. Either way, we are doing the church and ourselves a great spiritual disservice by changing God to fit into our own comfort zone.                               I’ve talked to strong members of the Christian faith who have said that the God of today isn’t the same God of the Old Testament- the God that created the world, who then wiped it clean with a worldwide flood leaving only one family.  That the God of Israel has changed into the God of the New Testament Church. They even disregard the Revelation portrayal of Christ- who comes as a avenging warrior- because it doesn’t fit into their carefully constructed box of what God is suppose to be like.                                                            I’m more than a bit horrified by this idea in all honesty.                                                      For one thing, God does NOT change. He is the same today as He was yesterday, He is the same as He was before He even created the universe- as can be evidenced in the following Scripture:

In the beginning, Lord,                                                                                                     You established the earth,                                                                                             And the heavens are the works of Your hands;                                                       They will perish, but You remain.                                                                                 They will all wear out like clothing;                                                                               You will roll them up like a cloak,                                                                                 And they will be changed like a robe.                                                                            But  You are the same,                   ~~Hebrews 1:10-12~~

Then throughout the Old Testament you will find verses that echo the one found in Psalm 111:10- The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.                       Then in the New Testament- Therefore, dear friends, since we have such promises, let us cleanse ourselves from every impurity of the flesh and spirit, completing our sanctification in the fear of God. – 2 Corinthians 7:1                                                    So, the natural question that should arise is- what is the ‘fear of the Lord’? Does God want us to be afraid of Him? Because I can point to numerous verses that the Angel of the Lord comes to someone and says, “Do not be afraid”! So, that idea is probably not right…    Now, if you have not given your life over to Christ- you have something to fear from God. For in His hand He carries your fate. He will judge you harshly because you have not accepted the gift of salvation that Christ gave us by dying on the cross for our sins. God is the one who can “destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28)                        But what about the believer?                                                                                             How are we suppose to ‘fear the Lord’ without being afraid of Him?                                  Our fear is suppose to be that of awe. Because as believers we are suppose to have a healthy understanding of who God is- what His demands of us are and what His power is about. Our terror is replaced with the knowledge of a perfect love in a relationship that can not be broken, awe still remains because we are made aware of what God can do.         We FEAR God but we are not AFRAID of God.                                                                  Do we need to look closer at how we portray God in the church to make sure we aren’t making Him into something that He isn’t?                                                                                I think so.                                                                                                                            The fear of the Lord leads to life; one will sleep at night without danger. Proverbs 19:23


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