Afraid Of God?

Are you afraid of God? Last time I asked a provocative question: Does God Punish?

It’s a tough question. One of this blog’s purposes is to talk about confronting adversity and moving forward in hope. It’s difficult to do that if you’re afraid of being punished.

Punishment is all about fear, power, and control. If I have enough power I can threaten you with a punishment that’ll make you afraid to step over my line.

God’s got all the power. If He wanted to intimidate me into mandatory-or-else compliance, I’ve no doubt He could drop an unmistakable “or else” that would leave me frozen in fear.

So the real question is: Does God want us to be afraid of Him?

For me, the answer is perhaps wrapped into a single verse from scripture:

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

I’m certainly no bible scholar, but I don’t think I’m taking that verse out of context. Earlier (verse 16) John writes, “God is love.” And now he clearly states that perfect love (God) drives out fear.

Someone asked Jesus the question as plainly as possible.

One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:35-40)

Here was His opportunity. He could have pointed to politics, security, finances, patriotism, family values, or any of the topics on which we fixate. But when asked directly about the #1 priority, the first word Jesus uttered was “Love.”

God is love. There is no fear in love, because fear has to do with punishment. All the Law hangs on LOVE.

Those aren’t my words.

If you’re afraid of God, I think you’re listening to the wrong voices.

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Copyright 2008-2012 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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