The following is a rewritten chapter from Bittersweet Refinements. If you would like to read the entire book, from start to finish and in the proper order, please go [here].
In The Fear of the Lord
Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.
When I talk about our Heavenly Father making Himself real unto me, the only thing that has been missing from that is not being allowed and enabled to actually see Him. For aside from being in almost constant communication with Him in one way or another, which is all part of what it truly means to pray without ceasing [1 Thessalonians 5:17], there have been times when I have felt Him actually hold me in His arms [John 14:18].
In fact, there have been times when His presence has been so intense, I have felt myself starting to shake as if very afraid. Hence, what it means to truly be in the fear of the Lord.
No, that is not what has been widely taught. For according to religious traditions, being in the fear of the Lord is supposed to be about being literally afraid to do anything to upset Him.
It makes sense—does it not? For we are talking about the One [Deuteronomy 6:4] who can erase all memory of an existence [Exodus 17:14] whenever He feels like it [Job 9:12], but what about what He actually says? For it is written: Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 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. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. [1 John 4:7-21 NIV]
Yes, the last part of that passage provides clear written confirmation of the absolute truth of the matter truly being that a great, great many really do have good reason to literally be very afraid if they continue along the path that they are now on [Ezekiel 18:30-32]. For it is written: Then He said to me, "It is done I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." [Revelation 21:6-8 NAS]
On the other hand: Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. [1 John 3:18-24 NAS]
The key to it all is truly hiding His Word in our hearts [Psalms 119:11], which is to have and to hold onto the witness of His Holy Spirit [John 14:26]. For far too many in the Christian community are living a lie [Isaiah 29:13], and this grieves our Heavenly Father deeply [Jeremiah 5:30-31].
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