Fearing God vs Being Afraid of God´╗┐

There is a difference between fearing the Lord and being afraid of the Lord. The former recognizes the greatness of God and his ability to do whatever he chooses. Therefore, he submits himself to the one that he recognizes as sovereign. Those who are afraid of the Lord, do not submit themselves to a sovereign God to rule over them. They instead perform actions in an attempt to keep God from exercising his anger upon them. The former will have a love relationship with God: the latter will struggle with love and acceptance. 

How did Job respond when his world caved in upon him? He continued to fear the Lord. He remained steadfast in trusting God’s sovereignty and continued to submit himself to him. (Job 1:21) Had Job been afraid of God, would his actions have been the same? Most likely not. His actions would have more been in line with those of his accuser. If a person lives in fear and governs his actions to keep God from punishing him, how would he react when God does exercise wrath? As the accuser stated, “He will curse thee to thy face.” It would be in that manner that he would act.

God wants you to fear him, but not be afraid of him. Fearing God is respecting God for who he is and the power that he possesses. Those who fear the Lord will recognize God’s ability to raise up and to put down, to love and admonish or to rebuke and chasten, and to exercise his will because what he desires is for the benefit of those he created.

When you are afraid of God, you have a difficult time accepting his love. Being afraid and accepting love cannot cohabit because perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18). Recognize that God loves you and that any actions that he has towards you will be motivated by his love. As we seek him for our lives, blessings will flow to us from his love, but if our steps begin to slip, he by love will take whatever actions are necessary to keep us from ruining our lives.

Living a life of fearing the Lord is a joy and blessing, but living a life afraid of God is a struggle and burden.

Gird Up (1 Peter 1:13)

We tie up the turkey so that its appearance on the plate is more desirable. I tie up my tomato plants so that they have support in growing and I tie up the dog when I put him out to do his business so the that little bandit won’t run away. Why do we tie things up? We tie things up for their benefit or safety.

Spiritually speaking, we should do the same. The Scriptures admonished us to gird up our minds. 

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (1 Peter 1:13)

The reason we are told to do so is because it is at that point that we get and maintain the victory. If you control how you think, you will control your actions. The apostle Paul stated it another way.

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Both passages involved reeling in the thoughts of your mind. Those which don’t belong we need to recognize and cast down and those which are right should remain and we should continually think on them. (Phil. 4:8)

With our mind girded, we should be on guard and watch. Sober and watch are used interchangeably and it is this task that guards our hearts and minds. Jesus admonished his disciples with the same message: keep my commandments.  

Spiritually speaking, God wants us to closely watch and guard the commandments in our hearts. Keep sake, keep hold, the keep (the strongest part of a castle), she’s a keeper are all terms describing the act of watching or guarding a possession. Since the term keep means to watch or guard, then God wants us to guard our hearts and minds and keeping the commandments is to keep the thoughts that should remain in it.  

If you wait to govern yourself at the action level, you experience much failure and frustration. What you should do is gird up the loins of our minds with the commandments of God. Remember, how you think determines how you act.

Sneak Peak of God’s Big Deal (1 Peter 1:8-9)

I remember staying home from school sick. Being sick was never fun, but the best part of it was being able to watch the TV game shows. One of my favorites was Let’s Make a Deal. Sometimes contestants would blindly trade for items that they could not see, but at other times, contestants would be given a sneak peak at what was behind a curtain. Sometimes that trade would work out for good and other times it didn’t.

We as believers have somewhat the same opportunity. We get to experience a peak of what God has in store for us.

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9)

We don’t get to see into the future or peak to see what is on the other side of the pearly gates, but we do get to experience some aspects of our salvation on this side of eternity.

Before coming to Christ, sin controlled us with its dominating grip, but now we experience power over sin. No longer are we a slave to sin and bound in its chains. Salvation set us free and Christ gave us liberty. As the power of Christ gives us victory over sin, liberty gives us the ability to make right choices and to choose righteousness instead of sin.

We experience light and are no longer in darkness. God’s word lightens our path and the Holy Spirit lightens our eyes so that by faith we can see God and follow him. He also dwells in the heart of every believer and because of it, he guides, teaches, intercedes and gives us comfort. Because he dwells in us, we are never alone.

Our stepping stones to heaven are lined with great and precious promises. From them we have assurance of what God will do through us and also for us.

Probably one of my greatest experiences in salvation is my adoptive relationship with God. The night that I trusted Christ as savior, God the Father adopted me into his family. Before this, my heart experienced a great void: an emptiness that nothing on earth was able to satisfy, but when I came to Christ, the love of God filled my heart.

This is not all that we will experience. One day, our salvation will be complete, but until then, we get to peak behind Heaven’s curtain and see part of the big deal that God has prepared for us.