Tuesday Thoughts

Fear or Reverence? - By Dan Stephenson

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear (1 Peter 1:17) We are to conduct ourselves in fear. But why? What are we supposed to be afraid of? After all, the Bible says that “there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). Other Bible translations have chosen the words “reverent fear" or “reverence" to emphasize the positive aspects in the word fear. It doesn’t simply mean terror). Like our English word reverence, the word fear implies respect. Conducting ourselves in fear does not mean we have any reason to fear losing the salvation Christ has secured for us. It does not mean we need to wonder whether God will turn out to be cruel, or that His promises will turn out to be false. No! We have great confidence in God’s goodness and in his promises! Peter meant we should have a deep and abiding awe or respect for the Lord because he is God, and because of what he has done for us. But how are we to show respect? Today, we are told to show respect to others by listening, making eye contact, and respecting their ideas whether we agree or not. Fifty years ago, men “showed respect” by taking off their hats indoors, and standing when a woman came into the room. We spoke in hushed tones in church and closed our eyes during prayer. Times change! In truth, the attitude has always been more important than the rules. Different times and different cultures have different “rules” about respect. And even unbelievers can follow those rules, whether or not their heart is behind the actions. Real respect and reverence for God comes from the heart. It should affect our innermost thoughts and motives. In the context of our verse, Peter said we should show respect by avoiding the selfish, destructive behaviors we practiced before we knew Christ (verse 14). We should show respect by loving each other (verse 22). And we should have such a high view of God that we are careful not to disregard or disobey our loving Heavenly Father—not out of terror, but out of respect and love. Photo origin unknown...

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