Thursday, March 6, 2014

What it means to be God Fearing

In this blog post I am taking a small detour amongst my writings of engagement.

A few weeks ago I was presented with a question. A sweet person, new to the faith, asked me what the phrase “God fearing” meant. When I read the question, a sense of empathy overwhelmed my soul.

Personally, when I was a new believer, the idea of being “God fearing” always confused me. Was I supposed to be afraid of God? If I messed up, was my salvation in jeopardy? Isn’t God supposed to be the example of unconditional love, not fear?

These questions loomed around in my mind for quite sometime. Many people would try to explain it to me by showing me scripture. In all honesty that pretty much only proved, to me,  that “to be God fearing” was definitely in the bible. I understood the call but not the meaning.

I wanted to approach answering this question with as much ease and simplicity as I could. You see, the idea of being “God fearing” is not a complicated concept at all. I believe that when we fully accept Christ, our hearts are changed. To be “God fearing” is not something we learn, but something we naturally feel. To stop myself from going off on a different tangent, I’ll get back to the main point, the meaning.

To fear God is not the fear that we know in our world. Fear out of being frightened or scared is actually not even of God. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power, love and self control.” -2 Timothy 1:7 

So what does fear actually entail? When we fear God we have a respect, reverence for him. Imagine someone whom you look up to and respect, for example, our parents. As children, we should not fear our parents in a terrified manner but in a respecting humbling way. We respect and love our parents and therefore should want to honor them with what we do. The same concept can be applied to our heavenly father. We love and respect Him so much that the way we live, act, speak, and love should be honoring and uplifting to Him.

In church this past Sunday, our pastor shared a psalm that immediately drew my attention to the God- fearing topic.
“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”

-Psalm 90:12

I know what you’re thinking. How in the world does this relate? Hang with me just a little longer. What David is asking for from God is not a literal lesson in counting, but to learn to take full advantage of the life with which God has blessed us.

So many times the Christian people, me included, tend to focus inward. How is God shaping our hearts or blessing our lives? Instead, we should be focused outward. How is God shining through our lives? Are our days glorifying His name to others?

Our sole purpose in life is to be disciples for the Lord, sharing his love story, the gospel, to everyone around, to bring his children home. When we live “God Fearing” lives, we are living the respectful, honoring, and glorifying way that God always intended for us. He has blessed us beyond measure and we are to do good with it. We are to respect what He has done for us because we love him.

Think about it. Christ came to this earth and died a brutal death on the cross to pay the penalty we all deserve. He died for each of us individually because he loves us individually. His unconditional love for us is so great that our small minds can’t even begin to comprehend it. “We love Him, because he first loved us” – 1 John 4:19. Without his love for us, we wouldn’t be able to love. God is so almighty, so powerful, so magnificent, it is inconceivable that he would humble himself to sacrifice himself for us. Whew, I’m getting all worked up! Knowing what God did for us invokes such a humbling and respectful response. We can’t help it. When we accept God's unfailing love, we become God-fearing characters.

Like with all natural character traits, acting a certain way comes as easy as breathing. It is who we are, we don’t even have to try or really think about it. When we accept Christ and our hearts have changed, he intertwines himself in every aspect of our being, including our character. To be God fearing isn’t something we have to take classes to learn, but is something that is instilled inside of us during that transformation. It will take work and discipline to obtain when matched against our sinful natures, but it is a strong none-the-less.

So when trying to think about living a God-fearing life or dating a God-fearing man or woman, look at character. God becomes one with us when we accept him. To be God-fearing is to put yourself second, live as Christ lived. Without God we are dead, dry bones. He fills us with life and light. He quenches our thirst and nourishes our souls. He is the living water, hydrating us daily. As Christ followers, we know, understand, and love Him for what he has done, does, and will do for us. We love and glorify Him by respecting and living for Him, humbling ourselves behind Him.

 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
- Luke 9:23

-God Bless

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