What does the word love mean? I automatically go back, WAY back to "Love means never having to say your sorry" - That is really a stupid statement!!! Then I think "Love hurts" - YES! It does!!! Webster defines love as "a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties" - That sounds like a good thing!
What about fear - what does it mean? I think of things I am afraid of - mice (YIKES!!); losing someone near and dear to me; physical pain. What does Webster have to say about fear - "frighten" and "to have a reverential awe of (God)".
Love and Fear - do they fit together?
Frances Chan talks about having a fear of God and not grasping the love of God when he was growing up. He points out that his own relationship with his father played a big part in how he perceived God.
The Love of God! I have met many people who struggle with accepting God's love. That is one thing I have never had trouble doing. I have always held tight to the love of God!! Perhaps it is because of my Baptist upbringing or because I felt loved and accepted by my dad long before I came to know God. For whatever reason, I have always felt like God loved me and known that he would always love me.
The Fear of God! That is something I have felt in the past. If I am honest it has been during my rebellious seasons of life. Times when I was living for me and only me. The fear I felt then was connected to shame. I remember thinking, "I sure don't want Jesus to return now and catch me doing this." How stupid of me!! Jesus knew exactly what I was doing! But when I have been living for Jesus I do not think of fear.
I always felt like these 2 things - Love of God & Fear of God were total opposites.
After reading this chapter I see how they go together. Francis uses the term 'reverent intimacy' and he talks about being 'In Love With the One I Fear'. As I think about those 2 phrases I also think about Webster's definition of fear - to have a reverential awe; and the definition of love - a strong affection arising out of personal ties. Putting those together for 'reverent intimacy' is something like - "having a reverential awe and strong affection arising out of personal ties." I have that! I am amazed at my God - He is the Great I Am and He loves me. He made me and loves me enough to discipline me when I need it (which is quite often); He knows the number of hairs on my head and He calls the stars by name. He deserves my reverential awe and strong affection!
Now, for the final part of Chapter 3:
"Do you love this God who is everything or do you just love everything He gives you?"
Ouch! Love hurts! That reminds me of a question I heard in a sermon a while back - If there were no rewards in heaven, no promises of happiness and peace, would just knowing Jesus here on earth as we know Him now, would that be enough?
Hmmm - I have some things to think about.Abba - I love you. I confess that I have not feared you with reverant awe. Like the song says, "What do I know of holy?" I want to fear you - I want to know you - I want to have more of you. Help me! Help me to value You and focus on You - not the many blessings from You. I am grateful for everything you give me, but I just want to be content with You! I want to be in love with the one I fear - You.