Serving God out of Love and Reverence

“Then He said ‘I am the God of your ancestors – the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ When Moses heard this, he hid his face in his hands because he was afraid to look at God”

“Reverence for the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. The rewards of wisdom come to all who obey Him.”

“Let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting Him. For our evil consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean”

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives our fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love”

It’s easy to see that to fear a loving God can come across as a little paradoxically confusing. We are told in Proverbs 9:10 that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Does that mean we turn to and follow God out of fear? Does that mean that fear is the driving force of our relationship with God, the primary emotion that keeps us on the ‘right’ path? This confused me for some time until I realised that to fear God is not necessarily to be afraid of Him, but to have a healthy reverence for who He is.

It is easy to be quite flippant, lazy or even selfish in our approach towards God – to go to God only when we need something, or to be haphazard in serving, following or even praying to Him. The other extreme would be to serve God out of obligation and fear of being punished, falling into the trap of legalistically knit-picking everything we and others do. If this were true, then the Good News that Jesus brings us isn’t really that ‘good’. He promised rest for our souls, to unburden us (Matt 11:28-29). To be clouded with fear of judgement is not what I call being unburdened! I have realised that at the core of a healthy relationship with God there is both a deep reverence and respect for who He is, and a beautiful understanding and embracement of the love and grace that He offers.

Embrace the Truth!

Jesus is our Lord and Creator, as well as our friend and companion. When He died for us, His blood atoned for our sins. In other words, those who trust in Jesus with their lives have no reason to be afraid of punishment from God for their sins, because Jesus took our punishment for us when He died on the cross in our place. Jesus’ incredible act of love has opened the door for us to have an open relationship with our Holy God. If we fully understand and embrace this truth, then we will not be afraid of messing up, but strive to serve God out of love for what He has done for us with reverence/awe/respect for who He is.

As we follow God’s lead, we learn that His ways are best, and bit by bit unlock the beauty of life as He intended us to experience. After all, Jesus promised that in following Him we will experience life to the fullest (John 10:10)!  It’s an exciting and at times pleasantly unpredictable road to travel. However to go against God is to walk a path of darkness and solitude – a path that will bring nothing but restlessness, fear and judgement to our souls. It’s unfortunate and tragic when we allow our arrogance and pride to fool ourselves into believing that this path is best for us.

What is your attitude towards God?

Are you lazy and disrespectful in how you serve Him? Do you treat Him as just another part of your life instead of being the foundation? Let’s allow Jesus to change our hearts, so that we serve Him out of love and appreciation for what He has done, and with respect and awe for who He is.

Those who go against God have good reason to be afraid of the judgment and punishment that awaits them. But for those who faithfully turn to and follow Jesus, accepting His gift of life, the burden of fear, guilt and loneliness is lifted and replaced by the liberating, beautiful relationship and hope we have with our Lord.

And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!

22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

One thought on “Serving God out of Love and Reverence”

  1. Stu, its quite peculiar that western Christians struggle in the 21st century with so much technology, so many books, so many comforts, and yet it seems virtual ignorance on this great theme of Gods Word. I understand that we are now so advanced that we should dispense with the old hymns and embrace the virtually unsingable contentless ditties that are almost universal in Christian meetings now.pity those poor ignorant saints of olden times who crafted the old hymns to sing together as a body of believers (how did they do it without a 6 piece band an ‘worship leaders’?
    Well, actually, they came up with some good doctrinal as well as pastoral compositions, which thrilled their hearts and mine too. Brethren, we are seeing the exchange of gold nuggets for cheap mirrors and beads!

    How about this for some timeless encouragement:

    1. Through all the changing scenes of life,
    In trouble and in joy,
    The praises of my God shall still
    My heart and tongue employ.

    2. Of His deliverance I will boast
    Till all that are distrest
    From my example comfort take
    And charm their griefs to rest.

    3. Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
    With me exalt His name!
    When in distress to Him I cried,
    He to my rescue came.

    4. The hosts of God encamp around
    The dwellings of the just;
    Deliverance He affords to all
    Who on His succor trust.

    5. Oh, make but trial of His love!
    Experience will decide
    How blest are they, and only they,
    Who is His truth confide.

    6. Fear Him, ye saints, and you will then
    Have nothing else to fear;
    Make you His service your delight,
    He’ll make your wants His care.

    It was this last verse that sprang to mind immediately when I read your title. We should try to sing good doctrine as regularly as we hear it preached. It strengthens and reinforces our appreciation of Him.

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