Tuesday, March 28, 2006

To Fear is To Respect

I don’t know exactly why I’ve decided to read the Book of Proverbs now. As I read and learn from the Bible, I just kind of randomly pick a book to read. It’s 30 chapters long, so I’m not exactly picking it for its brevity.

Proverbs 1:1-7: Well, that’s a good reason to read it…

I imagine when a non-believer comes across a verse like Proverbs 1:7 (The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline), the words “fear of the Lord,” is probably a turn off. But, what they don’t understand, what they are understandably ignorant to is that the various writers of the Bible mean “respect.” The word, “fear” has several meanings and the meaning that should be applied is “reverential awe.”

Hopefully, it is obvious that we should not fear, that is, be afraid, of God. We have nothing to be afraid of until the final judgment, whenever that maybe. But, when we fear the Lord, we are showing him the respect and awe for the wonderful and incredible things He can do and does. So, the question is how do we show Him proper respect? I imagine that is what Solomon was writing about in Proverbs. In very simple terms, by living moral lives based on His rules.

Too often, and I was/am guilty of this, we try put God into our rules. We try to make him fit into our convenient definition - the key word being convenient. We try to define God as this or that based on what we want Him to be. We try and justify our sins and shortcomings this way. We try to make God fit our standards when it’s supposed to work exactly opposite to that.

To fear the Lord is wise. To live our lives according to his standards is wise and shows the proper respect He deserves. And, it’s not easy, for sure. And, it’s not something you can just do. You have to make a choice and you have to change your habits and thinking. Your heart has to change. Yes, that’s difficult and it takes discipline and time. But, the reality is God gives us all the time we need and the tools of wisdom, faith, hope and love to change our hearts.

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