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Buddy Jesus? January 12, 2011

Posted by Jeremy in Lessons from Life.

In all my conversations with students none of them have been about the fear of the Lord.   This is a topic that is not often preached on or brought up in conversation.  It’s as if speaking of the fear of the Lord is poor taste.  I feel some of this is due to our confusion of casualness with intimacy.

When you act casual with someone it appears that there is intimacy.  This thinking is rampant in our culture.  It even spills over into our theology.  We’ve made God the smiling Jesus who is our buddy (don’t miss the buddy Jesus reference) – and who would be afraid of a good buddy.  We refer to God as the “big guy upstairs.”  How sad.  It’s not only trite but demeaning.  He is not our pal.  He is God.  If you are in Christ, he loves you, and it’s a good thing, because he is terrifying to see.  The fact of the matter is that when people who knew him intimately came face to face with him they didn’t pound him or give him the man hug.  They fell on their face! – people like Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, John, and Paul.

At the heart of our lack of understanding the fear of God is a desire to have a “soft” view of God.  We want an attractive God to present to the world.  Mack Stiles, says that this lack of fear of God means we gain a tremendous fear of people.  I totally agree with what he says.  When I talk with students the number one reason they don’t talk about their faith is associated with fear, whether it’s of what they will think, will say, being misunderstood, or what they might do.

To fear the Lord is to care more about what God thinks than what the world does.  It means that all of me – thoughts, concerns, actions, behaviors – are geared more toward God than they are toward our fellow man.  Luke 12:4-5 says this,

I tell 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 to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!

I’m also reminded of Deuteronomy 10:12,

…what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul…

As I think about the fear of God I realize how much I need to grow in this area.  I’ve realized how much I need to cultivate this in my teaching about God.



1. Mike Danaher - January 12, 2011

Amen! And again I say Amen! Fear of man is runs rampant is most churches. Young people who grow up in church not ever understanding the fear of the Lord; Older first generation christians (mostly) not understanding the gospel contribute to this “Jesus is my friend” theology. Thanks for the post

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