September 17, 2012

Week Five: Loving Respect; The Right Kind of Fear

There is a “right” kind of fear. It’s the fear of the Lord. Not out of cringing fear, but respect and love. The bible states: “Perfect love drives out all fear.”

For example, growing up I had a healthy fear of my parents.  I knew they loved me because they feed me, clothed me, played with me, taught me and protected me. They also disciplined me. I didn’t obey them out of fear but out of respect. I obeyed because they loved me and I didn’t want to disappoint them. I wanted to please my parents. What developed a healthy fear not to disobey my parents, love and respect.

The fear of the Lord also combines the two qualities of love plus respect. It is “loving respect” and “respectful love.” To fear someone in this sense is to love them and respect them at the same time. We can see this more clearly if we state it in the negative. Where there is no respect, there is no love. Say that out loud and let it sink deep into your mind.

“Where there is no respect, there is no love.”

That applies to all human relationships. Where there is no respect inside a marriage, there is no love either. Where there is no respect in a family, there is no love either.

Young ladies, remember this when a young man asks you out. No matter what he says, if he does not respect you, he does not love you. Love and respect go hand in hand.

So how does this apply to our relationship with God? Here is my definition of the fear of the Lord. It is the choice I make to obey God because I love him and want to please him. The fear of the Lord is an ongoing attitude of my heart that causes me to choose over and over again to obey God even when it might be easier to do something else. I make that choice because I love God and want to please him. The fear of the Lord is not cringing fear, which is respect without love. And it is not irreverent flippancy, which is love without respect. Respect plus love equals the fear of the Lord.

The fear of the Lord is not the opposite of love. It’s what real love is all about. A healthy sense of fear can be a positive motivation for doing right. This sort of loving respect is the basis of our relationship with God. When I choose to fear the Lord, I am choosing out of respect and love to do the things that please him.

Memory Verse: 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear”

Our Challenge: When we are tempted to doubt God, remember that He loves you beyond measure. Therefore, he can be trusted. Then choose to show God respect he deserves by obeying his command to not fear; to not worry today. You can do so because perfect love cast out fear!

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  1. While reading and listening to others, I have realized that by not trusting God, I have cheated myself. So many times I would hear a small voice say, ” Loretta, do this or that,” and I would ignore it. I am going to pray to put aside what I want to do and listen to that small voice as it can be trusted. Thank you, for a great Bible study, I am learning so much.

  2. I am journaling through, “The Prayer of Jabez-Devotional” and day 3 talked about God wanting to bless us but He is waiting for us to ask Him for those blessings. “God wants you to want His greater blessings enough to take the initiative – to ask for them – or you will miss out.” I have found that I as I have been actively asking for His blessings the past few days since reading that and been praying through chapters 9,10 I have had far less anxiety issues as I face the world. I can feel God near as I walk through a grocery store, or someone speaks to me at church or wants to hug me because they love and miss me. God has been casting out my fears because I am letting Him lead with His blessings and love. Thanks Micca – these two chapters helped redefine fear for me which has been such a struggle the past few months.

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