Leviticus 25:17New International Version (NIV)
Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the Lord your God.
When I was younger, it was difficult to wrap my head around the demand “to fear God.”
I’ve been afraid of my dad before, and the fear caused our communication line to break sometimes. Why would I want to be afraid of God? I didn’t want a God I could be afraid of. I wanted to know God as if we had a great communication.
Walking through fallen Magnolia petals
I explored this quandary and found in I John where we are told there is no fear in love and that love dissolves fear.
At first, the verse in I John seemed to contradict or least muddy what I read in the Old Testament about the demand to fear God, so I researched the words in the Hebrew and Greek.
The Hebrew word for fear in Leviticus is Yârê meaning “to revere, to dread.”
I compared this definition to I John, where the Greek phðbðs word: meaning to have terror, be afraid.
Fears that come with a feeling of terror, however don’t match my feelings of God. God has developed in my consciousness as a loving power, always patient, gentle, and wise. God expects me to act on the good thoughts given me, therefore I take these good thoughts and face up the terrifying fears and resolve them into nothingness.
I realized my fear of God more resembled reverence.
Now, this can be tricky though because reverence can go two ways. If I revere or admire to the point of being amazed and in constant awe, I’ve noticed my thoughts and actions become superficial.
Too much awe and I act bedazzled rather than practical.
A bedazzled attitude leads to disappointment, silly behavior, obsession, myopic views. The attitude assumes it’s reverent and loyal when really it’s an emotional nonsense that’s shirking its responsibilities to God. Disrespect.
The overt loyalty (reverence) amounts to irreverence.
How do we walk the fine line between fearful reverence and irreverence?
It’s with a high quality respect for love.
The key is knowing what to love.
Love spiritual life rather than mortal life. Love spirituality rather than materiality. Love justice, humility, and progress rather than prejudice, humiliation, or conservatism and the results reduce fear. Our respect for God manifests itself in less fear and more fearless spirituality in the world.
From 21st Century Science and Health, “The counsel of Love recognizes and respects only the divine control of Spirit, of which Soul is our master and mortal human mindsets have no place.”