The Accidental Pharisee

Friday, May 9, 2008

Consider This

"If you're afraid of God, you don't know him." ~ Brennan Manning

That quote is one of the first ones I wrote down during the retreat I attended last weekend.
Brennan Manning said it--but is it true? What about all those "Fear God" Scriptures? Deuteronomy 10:12 says,"And now, O Israel, what does the LORD God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God . . ."
A Pharisee--Accidental or otherwise--will jump on that "Thou Shalt" and do it--waiting for God's approval. Fear God? I can do that!
But does fearing God mean I am afraid of him?
Brennan Manning said, in this context, fear means silent wonder, affectionate awe, a radical amazement at the infinite God.
If you take the time to do a little word study on the Hebrew word for fear, you'll find out Brennan Manning is right.
God doesn't want me to be afraid of him.
He wants me to be amazed by him.
Only by knowing God can I be amazed by him. Only by understanding who he is can I be overcome by awe.
If I'm keeping my distance because I'm thinking God's out to get me--then I don't know God.
And I confess: There have been too many years when I didn't know God. I settled for fear rather than amazement.

Just Thinking Out Loud: We Accidental Pharisees often have a fear-based relationship with God. We're afraid that if we don't do things right enough, God will not be pleased with us. We're trying to build a bridge to God--a bridge made up of all our right actions. It spans a chasm filled with all our mistakes. If I'm so caught up being scared of God, I don't know him--and I'm missing out on all the opportunities to stand before him and be amazed by who he is and what he has done in my life.

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