Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fear of God – Yielding in the Face of Suffering

Jesus “offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death and was heard because of His godly fear.” Heb 5:7

I find it so easy to teach about the fear of God and to passionately cry out for the fear of God and so difficult to live the fear of God. Especially when it is so directly related to submission as it is in this passage.

The fear of God is not simply words that Christians blithely use to evidence their faith. Neither is it merely a reverent attitude evidenced by moderate clothing, avoiding raising one’s voice in church, or rigid church attendance and quiet times. While all these may be evidence of the fear of God, the most strenuous test of the fear of God is that of obedience in the face of suffering.

Many of us readily obey the simple commands of Scripture when we can comfortably comply without paying a heinous price and especially when obeying suits our needs and strokes our egos. Such obedience screams against the fear of God because it is based solely upon a respect for our own comforts and needs! In contrast, Jesus demonstrated reverent submission that went against any conceivable form of human comfort and evidenced submission based solely upon respect for God’s eternal purposes for mankind and God’s ways. Now that is godly fear.

So our challenge is to look this example in the face and admit our own shallowness in fearing God. But that’s not enough. We are challenged to willingly yield to adhering to God’s ways in the face of difficulty or suffering. This godly fear of God starts on our knees, but will surely bear fruit under the constraints of injustice or perplexing suffering just as it did for Jesus.

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