Fear: proper and improper
Today’s reading: Luke 11:37-13:9
My selection: Luke 12:4-7
4 “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
My reflections: For most people, the greatest fear is fear of death, and, by extension, fear of those who could kill them. Jesus taught that there is something worse than physical death in this world, that is condemnation into hell, and, by extension, fear of the One who has authority to cast us into hell.
Fear of God is not an outmoded, primitive concept superseded somehow by the gospel of Christ. Fear of God is very much a correct mindset for the Christian. Yet we are comforted in knowing that the One who has authority to cast into hell is the same One who died for all who believe in Him. We ought to fear the wrath of God, but not lose sight that He knows and cares for His own.
My challenge: Never become presumptuous and arrogant before God as if you were good enough in yourself to escape His judgment. Rest in His mercy and grace, but rest humbly and gratefully. Never despair that He has forgotten or overlooked you. You are of more value than all the sparrows of which He keeps track. Fear God, but trust God. Do not fear man. Do not trust in yourself.
Tomorrow’s reading: Luke 13:10-15:32