Choosing Fear (Part 2)

Some hold that fear and love contradict one another–that fear is contrary to love.   But in actuality, these go hand in hand.  Love and fear are necessarily related. Below are three points of perspectives on this relationship. Firstly, that which we cherish and hold dear, we love.  We love that which is precious and hate the thought of losing that which is so important to us.  We don’t want to lose that or whom we love or have it or them taken from us. Thus we fear losing that which we love.  And hence, in effort to mitigate the fear of loss, to what extent will we love the beloved?  Fear drives us to the action of faith. To illustrate, if my wife is diagnosed with cancer, what would I not do to effectuate a cure and insure her future? We know in His sovereignty, He holds control of the beloved, and not us. As much as we want to control the well-being of those we love, we find we don’t control outcomes.  And so we fear God, because as our actions of love do not determine the well-being of beloved, His do. We fear God because He determines the plight of us all, the things and people we love. Secondly, the fear of God and the love of God is commanded.  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and will all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).   This is demonstrated by “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me…” (John 14:21).  The fear of the...

Choosing Fear (Part 1)

“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” –Matthew 10:28 There is no respect in fear:  It is just plain terror.  God has set the terms of how man relates to Him:  It’s through terror, for He is the God who determines our future. The word that is translated as “fear” in the original Greek is phobos.  The word phobos means terror.  Had Jesus intended to mean “respect” there are other more appropriate words in the original language that could have been used. We will fear that in which we hope.  Fear follows our hope.  And behavior (faith) follows our fear.  Therefore, our fears and actions reveal that in which we hope for and hope in.  What do your actions tell you about your fear and your hope? Fear has a bad reputation.  It is associated with weakness and cowardice.  But if placed with the right object (God), it is meant for our protection, for our good, a driver to obedience, and motive of avoidance of sin and pain–and to do what is ultimately in our best interest.  It leads to positive changes in our lives, pushes us to love and good deeds, strengthens us, unchains and frees us up.  Fear can become our strength! “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10) and “Conduct yourselves in fear of God while on Earth” (1Peter 1:17). Fear of God is not only the best beginning but the necessary foundation for in a walk with Jesus...

“Waiting”

“But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” – Romans 8:25 Hope is the unseen benefit we long for.  It drives us. We walk by faith because of it.  Hope is powerful—it defines our realities. They may be unrealistic, indescribable and unobtainable. But nevertheless, our actions in faith are a function of our hope.  Most of us likely eat, work, exercise, spend our money, worship, love and rest because of it.  You define a man’s hope, you can predict his actions.  And conversely, you can see a man’s hope by his behaviors. The thing we hope for is a noun, as in the Blessed Hope.  But it is also a verb as in our verse:  “We hope for what we do not see.” What we hope in determines what we hope for.  I.e. we hope in God of the scriptures because of the goodness and integrity of His character and the promises He holds for us.  He then defines in our lives what we hope for.  We hope for the return of Christ, a new body, salvation, heaven. These things were defined in us as our hope in Him was developed, i.e., as our minds are renewed toward a deeper understanding of God, so our eternal hope is developed. For what do we wait? We wait for that which we hope.  We wait because we hope.  And the object or power of our wait determines the validity of our waiting. Waiting can be a challenge.  It requires patience and trust in the things we don’t see or control.  But it...

Seeking Praise and Glory

Glory:  “Doxa” means honor, praise; an opinion, estimation, representation, ie “due acknowledgement of the exhibition of His attributes, character and ways to and through His believers.” Also, a “genuine and accurate confession of sins, bringing glory to His name” (found in Joshua 7:19). John 5:44  “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” Romans 2:7  “…to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life…” Observation: This is not a condemnation of desiring glory, affirmation, approval and credit—this is natural–all men do it.   The bible actually affirms seeking glory—but only from God, not from men.  The scripture teaches the hope of receiving glory from God, on His terms, is a legitimate biblical motive. 1Corinthians 4:7 “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” Receiving glory is fraudulently accepting credit for what is not mine to accept. How can one take credit away from God, when we add nothing? Glory from men is not reliable, misleading and ultimately destructive to me and the testimony of Him. We simply cannot receive or believe it. Romans 4:20  “Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he (Abraham) did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God.” Giving glory is the opposite of receiving glory. It is giving credit where it is due. 1Peter 4:11  “Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is...
Perspective and Reality

Perspective and Reality

David, from Psalm 27: “When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; thou war arise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident.” — Vs 2-3. How to get this kind of perspective? We don’t know much about David’s enemies, but he had plenty. He may have been in war in the spiritual realm, maybe health, financial and relational challenges. We do know the opposition was colluding, surrounding him, intent on taking him down. The perspective of the natural man is that he needs to take on his enemies, up his game, do more and do it better, somehow muster up some courage even though it be hopeless. Or maybe the trouble is too overwhelming, he is alone and strategizing on how to fold his tent and save face. Any man would be void of confidence, filled with dread and fear, plotting his defenses and getting ready to deal with the shame of defeat. Then David makes an extraordinary statement: “One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.” — V 4 In the middle of facing all his encroaching enemies, certain failure and impending threat of death, David boils it down to one desire: dwell in the presence of God and meditate! What kind of man thinks like this?! The outcome is found in...