Your God is HOW Small?
Do you Fear God?
Sunday we continued our series Christian Atheist by diving into the topic of Holy Fear. If we're being honest, this seems like a sort of strange topic- after all, why would God want me to fear Him? And this sentiment shows our lack of understanding about what fearing God is really all about. In our message, we defined fear of God this way:
Fear of God = Loving God + Respecting God. This is far oversimplifying it, but it paints the picture well. Fear of God is loving God for all He is and all He has done for us. It's loving Him because He first loved us. But it's also a healthy realization of the awe, wonder and holiness of God. In my experience, it is rarely our love for God that breaks down. Rather, it is a loss of holy respect and awe that causes people the biggest problems.
I think the reason for this is that we have a tendency to shape God to our circumstances, rather than measuring our circumstances against God.
For example, if you come from a broken home, you may struggle to see God as a loving Father. It's hard to respect Him the way you should, because you believe your Heavenly Father may let you down like your earthly father. Or perhaps you have bought into the cultural cry for tolerance and acceptance. If this is your driving force, you will hold on to the unconditional love of God, but will dismiss the holy fear that we should have of Him and the standards that He may be calling us to.
In both these scenarios, my perception of who God is has been shaped by my experience. And it isn't God's love that comes under fire. It's his Holiness. Any estimation of God that includes His Love, but ignores His Holiness and our need for Holy Fear is inadequate. When we do this, we overestimate ourselves and we underestimate God.
This is where much of the church finds itself. We say we believe in God and His Love, but rather than being the Almighty, Sovereign and Holy God that He is, our God is loving, but impotent. He is a weak God that we keep on a leash or carry around in our pockets. Far from being the shaper of truth, He is reduced to a spiritual good luck charm. Our lives are more influenced day to day by politics, sports and Oprah than it is by our Creator.
But when the tragedies of life hit, knowing that God loves you, frankly, isn't always enough. It's in those moments that we need to be able to lean into the "fierceness" of our Creator and to remember that "Greater is He who is is us than He who is in the world." (1 John 4:4). I look at the anemic faith of so many Christians and find myself asking "Your God is HOW small?"
Fear of God is loving God + Respecting Him. And He deserves Both. If you love God, but have forgotten just how holy and awesome He is, it might be time to get on your face before Him in prayer and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Because our God is loving, but He is also worthy of our fear.