I’m intentionally slowly reworking through a 2-volume work by Jerry Bridges “The Pursuit of Holiness” and “The Practice of Godliness” . Currently Bridges is talking about fearing God is a balance that drives us to stand back in awe and yet also enter toward Him in love. He writes about this tension (TPOG; pp.19-20) …
“It is impossible to be devoted to God if one’s heart is not filled with the fear of God. It is this profound sense of veneration and honor, reverence and awe that draws forth from our hearts the worship and adoration that characterizes true devotion to God. The reverent, godly Christian sees God first in His transcendent glory, majesty, and holiness before he sees Him in His love, mercy and grace.”
“One of the more serious sins of Christians today may well be the almost flippant familiarity with which we often address God in prayer. None of the godly men of the Bible ever adopted the casual manner we often do. They always addressed God with reverence. The same writer who tells us that we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place, the throne room of God, also tells us that we should worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, “for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 10:19, 12:28-29). The same Paul who tells us that the Holy Spirit dwelling within us causes us to cry, “Abba, Father,” also tells us that this same God lives in “unapproachable light” (Romans 8:15; 1 Timothy 6:16).
I am to be reminded that God is not only full of love, grace and forgiveness but also full of holiness, justice and wrath. Of course, both these categories are displayed in the person of Jesus. The gospel is truly amazing and humbling that we can intimately know this great God who is to be both feared and loved. And this works out practically in the way we approach God in prayer:
– By how we address God in prayer. God is our Heavenly Daddy but He’s not our Homeboy.
– By how consistently we approach God in prayer. Do we fear and stay away because of guilt? If so, this is a misunderstanding of the gospel. Our sin should drive us toward God because the cross is the only place we can go for freedom.
-By how we live the Christian life. God is to be loved and feared not liked and placated once a week or so. This Fearful Loving God should consume every waking thought and breath that we realize our utter dependence on and desperation without Him (Psalm 42:1-2).
God, help me to see more of You! Help me to both fear and love You!