Worshipping God requires self-discipline. Since no-one is there to monitor the quality and quantity of our prayers, we need to develop a relationship with God that will refine that self-disciple to live as God intends. There are many reasons we come to God. Mostly, “push” factors are the things that drive us to church like hardships we are running away from or needs we desire fulfilled. Whilst “pull” factors draw us to God because a deeper understanding of who He is, and our need to worship Him. Ultimately, coming to God should not be dependant on external factors, but rather a desire to love God with all our heart, soul and strength. (Deuteronomy 4:5).
This series of teachings is based on Joshua’s warning to the Israelites to do away with their idol worship and pledge their loyalty to the Almighty God. It is centred on making a conscious decision to willingly make the necessary changes that allows focus and attention on God alone and His intended plan. Joshua served to enlighten the Israelites that though they walked in the company of the presence of God, they could not live in reverent fear of Him if the continued to harbour idols in their possession. (Joshua 24) The reverent fear of God is a vital and integral part of christianity. When this departs from an individual, the devil knows that he has taken away a core aspect of their worship. Losing that fear can occur in a very obvious manner or worse yet, in a subtle way unaware to you. You then run the risk of normalising habits you have already been warned against. Understanding the authority of God and how an element of fear plays a part is crucial because it gives you spiritual maturity and independence.
A mature christian needs not constant reminding of their core values. Let’s take going to work for example, an employee with an awareness of their responsibility and repercussions for their failure to comply will always adjust their working practises to ensure compliance without supervision. We need to be continuously aware of the authority and power of the word of God over us otherwise we start to depend on our own rational. We begin to reason and initiate our own methods to accomplish things. By making God redundant in our lives, we go against the very nature of our relationship with Him that requires our complete reliance and surrender to Him. Genesis 3:1-13 – in today’s scripture, we see that Adam and Eve knew exactly what was expected of them, because God had already made it clear. Their fear of God, as the one who created the heaven and earth, was great when they were in the garden. However, that fear departed from them in a subtle way when the serpent approached the woman and questioned her understanding of God’s instruction in relation to the tree of life.
In so doing, it triggered Eve’s mind to start doubting what God had said. How does that interaction between the snake and Eve relate to us? There are times when God speaks into our lives but we find that doubt starts to seep into our minds and we end up questioning what He had said. We might even be tempted to find out what the consequences are if we went against what was said in the first place. This could result in us paving a way to allow bad habits to become part of our everyday life. This is why our fear of God helps us to navigate through thoughts of doubts, because if we start to think something that is contrary to God’s instruction, that fear will act as a reminder to us. If Eve had said to the snake that no matter what it said, she would stick to what the Lord had said, the outcome of that encounter would have been very different. Yet, she entertained the question posed by the serpent, allowing the doubt to cloud her judgement and eventually her actions. If she had understood that by eating that fruit it would result in her dying as God had explained to her before, the fear of going against the instruction of God, and the warning that came with it, should have prevented her from acting against it. This is an example of how the devil works in our lives. He enters with a narrative that we might be familiar with and we will not be able to immediately pinpoint it as coming from him.
We then start to entertain that narrative that differs to what God has outlined, before we know it, we have moved away from God. Reverent fear prevents us from entertaining those narratives from the devil. God banished Adam and Eve from the intended life of comfort in the Garden of Eden. When they were forced to leave, it meant they now needed to start living an alternative life to the one that God had created for them. In retrospect, we can continue living life, going about our business, but if we lose that fear of God, we live a life void of Him. Furthermore, the word from God will become foreign to you as communication between yourself and God breaks down. You will no longer be able to understand God, nor His voice anymore. Your focus and goals will now differ from that of God’s. Sometimes situations appear to be difficult to achieve because we do not seem to have the means to overcome them. This is because these obstacles may require you to move to a deeper spiritual level to see them through. God operates in the spirit. The bible reminds us in John 1:12-13 that those that receive God are given the chance to be called His children. Since they are born of God, they have the opportunity to be able to connect with God on a spiritual level as well. When we look back at the Israelites during the time they were departing from Egypt, they had the Egyptian army pursing them from behind with the Red Sea ahead.
Based on what they could see, in essence they were trapped. The only rational thought would be to assume that they were going to die as there was no way out for them. However, all they needed to do was to be still and to wait on God to provide them with a way out. As such, we also have to remember to be still and allow God to take over the battle for you in a supernatural way, instead of seeking your own solutions. When we believe in God and fear Him, things begin to happen in our lives. You see, walking with God does not mean that we will be exempt from encountering difficult situations. Abraham, Isaac and many other people in the bible went through challenging circumstances during their times, but it was during those situations that God’s power and might was revealed. What is needed from us is to hold on to the faith, and the reverent fear, that we have in God throughout the situation. For example, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had to experience being placed into the furnace of fire for the Son of God to be seen with them (Daniel 3:8-30). Their attitude was that no matter the outcome, whether they were going to be saved or not, they would remain faithful to God.
Their fear and faith in God was greater than what they encountered. In conclusion, do not allow the fear of God to depart from you. Inevitably, this will give way to you entertaining bad habits that should not be apart of our lives. Do not allow the perception of others to influence how you understand God’s words and be vigilant against the devil’s tactics as he might try to persuade you using tactics that are more subtle than you might be expecting. An important thing for you to remember as a christian is that the fear of God should remain in you as it will guide how you handle difficult and challenging situations that you might encounter in life. Through it all, God will always be by your side, no matter that you encounter, just remember to love Him with all that you have.