One of the marks of a disciple is passion: growing in the love and fear of the Lord.
Although love and fear may seem contradictory, when it comes to our relationship with God they go hand in hand. We ought to have a sense of reverent awe, a mindset of humility before the majesty and holiness of our God.
The other side, however, is the love of God. The more we know Him, the more we can love Him, because He has overcome the barriers between us through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. He pursues an intimate relationship with us.
The Spectrum of Intimacy
One way of understanding our relationship with God and how fear and love relate is through the spectrum of intimacy. In one sense, He is completely transcendent and other than us. He is so great that we can barely even begin to understand who He is. As His creation, we are utterly small in comparison.
The spectrum of intimacy continues on: We are His creation, but at the same time, if we are in Christ, we are also God’s adopted children. Not only that, Jesus calls believers His friends (John 15:15). And one of the most intimate images we have is that of Jesus as our bridegroom and we as His bride (Revelation 19:7).
These aspects of the spectrum are all true, because God is both transcendent and immanent.
Obedience to God
As we increase our passion for God, growing in the fear and love of Him, we will also obey Him. Obedience, after all, requires both fear and love. Both parts are key. We need to feel His holiness and His goodness; contrition for our sins and trust in His mercy; trembling at His Word and rejoicing in His presence.
But the temporal value system of the world seeks to interfere with our obedience. It tries to keep us from an eternal perspective, often urging us to pick and choose which aspects of God we like and to ignore those we don’t like.
True growth in God, however, happens when we surrender to Him even when we don’t understand. Only when we submit ourselves to Him can our passion as His disciples grow.
Watch Ken’s previous Friday morning study videos here.
Want to go deeper in understanding the fear of the Lord? Check out Ken’s article, “Delighting in the Fear of the Lord.”