by Heather Tietz
To man he said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom. To depart from evil is understanding.’
No one thinks about Santa in July. Come December, though, his name elicits respect from children around the world. He is loved, but his power to see who is naughty and nice makes him feared also. Love mixed with fear is respect. Those Santa believers want to be kept on his “Nice List.”
God wants our respect. He wants our love and our knowledge of His great power. He deserves it more than Santa. God’s great love for people is real. His power to create life and end it is real. His anger at injustice is real. His disgust with sin is real. The relationship He offers through Jesus is real.
The belief in Santa provokes children to behave. Our belief in God should be a hundredfold more than that, but not because we fear He will put us on His Naughty List. We behave, we obey, we love, we strive to live like Jesus because we respect God.
We can’t help but love Him, thank Him, and praise Him, and we can’t help but fear for our lives, our eternities, without the smile of God on us, without His ear to our prayers and His hand in our messes. Our respect for God makes our steps more careful, our words more measured, our hearts wiser. The thought of Christmas coming can give us joy year-round!
The Bible says, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” The focus here is on a sense of awe and respect for the majesty of God.
Thus, Oswald Chambers said, “The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.”
If you fear God – you have a sense of awe and respect for God – you can face life fearlessly.