What does it mean to fear the Lord?
As we continue to explore what it means to fear the lord we will once again start with scripture.
- 12. Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
- 13. for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
- 14. Do everything without complaining or arguing,
- 15. so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe
- 16. as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
I would like to draw your attention to verse 13, which says that God works in us (Through the Holy Spirit) to will and to act according to his good purpose. Now, why is this important?
Well we need to realize for us as normal human beings we would ordinarily run in the opposite direction of doing the right thing. Therefore, God graciously gave us His Holy Spirit, to help us do the will of God. It is God’s will that we have a reverent fear of him, knowing in our inmost being that He is Holy and to be respected. Both for what He has done for us and for who He is.
We do not have to do it all by ourselves. We cannot do it on our own, man tried to live up to the laws that God had set up years ago, through the 10 commandments, and other requirements that God had laid down for the people, but by themselves, with out divine intervention, they could not keep the requirements by themselves.
So, after Jesus died on the cross for our sins, God sent his Holy Spirit to live in the hearts of man. The Holy Spirit is the one that now enables us to fulfill God’s perfect will for our lives. His will is that we would walk in an attitude of reverence for Him.
Before I go any further, I want to draw your attention to a verse in the Old Testament to show you how costly irreverence was to the people of old, and to let you know that God still requires us to show him the same kind of respect that he demanded of the people of old to as well.
- Leviticus 10 : 1-11
- The Death of Nadab and Abihu
- 1. Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command.
- 2. So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.
- 3. Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke of when he said: ” ‘Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored. ‘ ” Aaron remained silent.
- 4. Moses summoned Mishael and Elzaphan, sons of Aaron’s uncle Uzziel, and said to them, “Come here; carry your cousins outside the camp, away from the front of the sanctuary. ”
- 5. So they came and carried them, still in their tunics, outside the camp, as Moses ordered.
- 6. Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not let your hair become unkempt, and do not tear your clothes, or you will die and the LORD will be angry with the whole community. But your relatives, all the house of Israel, may mourn for those the LORD has destroyed by fire.
- 7. Do not leave the entrance to the Tent of Meeting or you will die, because the LORD’s anointing oil is on you.” So they did as Moses said.
- 8. Then the LORD said to Aaron,
- 9. “You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the Tent of Meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.
- 10. You must distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean,
- 11. and you must teach the Israelites all the decrees the LORD has given them through Moses. “
- (All things highlighted with italics are done by the author of this article to emphasize points)
I am not sure if you have heard the saying “God is the same yesterday as He is today” Well it is true, God does not change and has not changed how he deals with his people. We are given a choice today on how we treat the things of God, whether in a way that is Holy or as unholy, and each has a consequence to it.
If we as modern day christians choose to treat the things of God as Holy, we will walk in the blessings of the Lord, we will enjoy his favor and the outpouring of his love for us.
If we choose not to regard God as Holy and all that He says to be holy and choose to live for ourselves, there are consequencses for that as well. As believers, we will have broken fellowship with God, we will have unfullfilling prayer times,we will lack the power of God in our lives to affect the lives of the people around us. He did not call us to that.
I did not include this scripture to scare you but to make a point, and the point is this, Aaron’s sons had been taught how to perform all of rituals that had been required by God. The were taught that certain things were to be regarded as holy and they were taught how to handle the things of God. They tried to do things their own way. They showed no respect for what God had already told them and the cost of that disobedience for them was their lives.
God does not require that we go to the temple in Jerusalem and offer burnt sacrifices any longer, but He does require us to be obedient to the ways that he has set down for us. As christians in our modern society we often do not take God and his ways as serious as we should, this is shown in how we treat his sanctuary here in our own communities.
We often come into church or our quiet times with an attitude of duty, rather than an attitude of excitement and reverence and passion for the relationship that we are nurturing. When we come into church with the attitude of duty we dishonor God as we have not come to recieve from him or even to worship him.
We rush in with our thoughts on everything but Him. We might even had a blow out with one of the family members on the way to church. We might even still be angry and in no mood for the whole service, but obligation and duty spur us on.
We complain if the music went on to long and if the lighting was not perfect. When the preacher is preaching we are sometimes a million miles away in thought, our stomach may grumble and we are instantly transported to lunch time and what we would be having. We are sincerly glad when they give the final announcements, and we walk out of church unchanged by the whole event. Then we rush off to lunch and quickly give a prayer of thanks and move on to other things.
Is it any wonder that our prayer lives are powerless, our churches are ineffective at truly reaching the lost in our communities and our own lives are mediocre at best.
The result of mediocre worship of God; is that we tend to have ineffective prayer lives, which causes a cascading effect. We tend not to see much of God at work in our lives, so it causes a chronic case of unbelief, which leads to disrespect, which leads to and even deeper sense of unbelief.
Beth Moore stated in her book, Believing God, that “We see little, so we believe little, so we see little.”
It is a vicious cycle.
So how do we change this in our lives and in our communities?
The first place to always start is with repentance, I have found that the way to remain walking in humility with God is to admit your sin, turn away from it and make every effort to walk in obedience to His ways for you.
Before you go to church, why not find a quiet spot and pray and seek the lord, ask him to reveal his heart for you. Repent of any sins that might be blocking you recieving from him what he has for you. When you put this into practice into your life, you will find that God will most definitely speak to you through the worship and through the preacher’s words.
Remember, God has annointed that preacher to teach you what is on His heart for you. So if you are prepared, you will be able to hear.
I pray that as you have read these words, you will understand that God’s heart for you is to know him in a deeper way, and that you will understand that by being obedient to his word and showing him the respect that is due to him you will start to walk in a whole new and deeper experience with Him, The Lover of your Soul!
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