Luke 12:4-5, “And I say to you, My friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom you should fear: Fear*~ the one who, after the killing, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear*~him!”
Jesus commanded his disciples to be fearless even when threatened with physical death for proclaiming the good news. At worst, the opposition can only bring about physical death, which is meaningless in comparison to eternity in hell. Jesus was advising the disciples that faithfulness to Him would likely result in a death sentence from the state, but it was not to be feared—-it was to be welcomed!
God commands us to fear Him. Whomever you are afraid of, you will obey. When people fear the authorities are watching or will find out about their actions, they tend to obey their laws.
Likewise, Christians can become presumptuous because of God’s patience, deceiving themselves into believing that God will do nothing. They think He is too loving and forgiving to punish them. Satan deceived Eve into believing that God would do nothing if she disobeyed. When she believed the lie, she became vulnerable to disobedience.
Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” The first lesson a believer should learn—-the beginning of wisdom—-is that it is a painful experience to disobey our Lord. The author of Hebrews wrote, “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord. Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him. For whom the Lord loves He chastens. And scourges every son whom He receives . . . But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons” (Heb 12:5–-6). Christians are forgiven their sins, but God will teach us not to be disobedient by certain chastisement.
If we do not fear God’s promise of chastisement, then we tend to be morally loose. If we fear that He will do what He says in His word, then we begin to take His commands seriously. This is a healthy motivation to learn what God expects of us as His children—-this is where wisdom begins.
“The fear of criticism or what others will say is so debilitating that I am more interested in preserving my ego and building my reputation than in following You. Give me an opportunity today to demonstrate to You my courage to be unashamed.”
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