Continued from here.
People love sermons on the many blessings that God wants to shower on those who love Him, but most fail to recognize their part in that equation – they must first love God! If we are chasing God’s blessings rather than chasing God, then we will selfishly squander those blessings if God gives them to us prematurely. Thus, God must withhold those blessings until we are spiritually mature enough to handle them. For example, someone who is chasing the blessing of prosperity is likely to spend that money selfishly if God gives it prematurely. However, someone who truly loves God – even as they struggle financially – will be much more likely to generously sharing financial blessings with those in need, and Jesus taught us to do. Only those who truly love God and pursue Him for HIM – not the spiritual vending machine – walk in the fear of the Lord.
The fear of the Lord is not “being afraid” of God. It’s about being committed to God NO MATTER WHAT. It involves a decision to trust, obey, and thank God, even during the dark night of the soul. It’s being 100% committed to God, even when God appears to have left you, which He promises He will never do. However, God will withdraw the sense of His presence to test you and see what is in your heart. If you are truly chasing God, you will continue to chase Him – to trust, obey, and thank Him – even when you can see no rational reason for continuing to do so. However, if you are really chasing what God can do for you, you will stop trusting, obeying, and thanking Him once you are no longer getting what you want out of Him. The only way for both you and God to truly know what’s in your heart is to remove the benefits of being in a relationship with God – the dark night of the soul – and see how you respond. If you really love God, even the dark night of the soul will not stop you from pursuing Him. As I frequently say, this isn’t easy, but it really is that simple.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace with the words, “Love You the Most” coming out of her chest. Courtesy Bitmoji.]