Friday, August 18, 2017

Hebrews 4:1 -- On Fear and Respect and Preparation

"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it."
Hebrews 4:1

Fear is an interesting idea in the scriptures that is often hard to understand.  We're asked to love God, and read that "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment" (1 John 4:18), and yet we also read "Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man" (Ecclesiastes 12:13), and lest we ascribe the idea of fearing God to the fulfilled Mosaic law, here it is in our scripture for today: "Let us therefore fear."  ... Yikes, right?  Why would we want to fear, or have fear in our lives?

Most of the time in the scriptures when we're told to fear God, it means respect.  No one should attempt to climb Mount Everest without a healthy fear of death for instance.  You have to respect the mountain, or it *will* crush you.  Not because the mountain hates you, but because you weren't prepared for the challenge.  And life is like that too.  It's a challenge that we need to respect and plan for.   D&C 38:30: "if ye are prepared ye shall not fear."

This verse is about fear, but not fear of God.  More a fear of failure.  Not the immobilizing, overwhelming kind, but again, the respect kind.  We need to respect the challenge before us.  If we're going to be able to accept what God offers, it's going to take some effort and some work to become the kind of people that can stand in his presence.

Today, let's take hold of God's promise of rest, and let's be prepared for it.  Let's have a healthy fear of becoming worse than we are, and turn that into motivation to become better.  

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