2/18/2009 - Frightening Love

Quiet Time 2-18-09:  Frightening Love

Deuteronomy 5:29 (NLT):  Oh, that they would always have hearts like this, that they might fear me and obey all my commands! If they did, they and their descendants would prosper forever.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10(NLT): Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Job 13:21(NLT): Remove your heavy hand from me, and don’t terrify me with your awesome presence.

At my C12 Group meeting (visit http://www.c12group.com ) this month, the devotion was based on 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 where Paul describes that Jesus provides strength in weakness.  Other paradoxes in the scriptures were illustrated as well i.e. the humble are exalted, the last shall be first, you must die to self to fully live, become slaves to be free, the poor are rich, you must give to receive, be a fool in the world’s eyes to be wise.  The segment provoked thought and some conversation, but we soon moved on to the Working On My Business and Working On My Ministry In God’s Business segments and I had given the devotion no more thought until . . .  my Quiet Time when I became still and listened.  My Quiet Time included a short devotion from Men of Integrity that related to Job being terrified by the awesome presence of God and God telling Moses that He wants our hearts to fear Him.  The Holy Spirit enlightened me as follows:

If we fear God, we will obey Him and Deuteronomy 5:29 says that if we obey Him, we and our descendents will prosper forever.  Our fear of God only comes about from reciprocal love.  God loves us, He loves us enough that he sent His only Son to be a perfect example for us and then to die on the cross for our sins so that through faith we can become a new creation and have ever lasting life.  God’s love for us never changes, but we must receive the love and return the love.  Returning love to God requires sharing love with our “neighbors” (everyone), a process that takes place only with true respect for God and His love.  On one extreme is someone that does not even know about God will, of course, not fear God.  Someone that knows about God, and maybe even believes, will not likely fear God without love.  It is only when we believe and receive His great love for us, and we are able to start returning and sharing His love, that we begin to respect and fear God.  That is when “Frightening Love” is experienced – what a paradox – we love God most when we fear Him most.

Parents may relate to this two-way love and frightening love in several ways.  Children return and share love that is expressed to them.  Children usually obey more out of fear than love.  Parents can be frustrated that it seems children don’t fully realize or appreciate their love for them.  Parents and children often have difficulty demonstrating love and respect.  I can imagine our Heavenly Father shaking his head even weeping as His children struggle to accept, understand and fear His love.

Sometimes I wonder if we simply fall in love with religion and miss out on God’s love altogether????

. . . make smart choices, love everybody, be a blessing, I love you and have a great day.