Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Fear Based or Christ Centered and Compassionate Driven

A friend of mine just finished reading 'More Jesus Less Religion' by Stephen Arterburn & Jack Felton and shared just one thought...'Those who enjoy a love-based relationship with God have a much easier time being patient, kind, gentle, loving, and self-controlled with those who might be living in sin or in rebellion against God. Fear-based Christians often become intolerant, Bible-thumping, unkind, cruel, shaming, condescending, hard, bitter, and unable to control their tongue or their temper.' Stephen Arterburn

Then my friend added “I read that my God is a God of love (1 John 4:8, 16), it doesn't say He is a God of fear, not saying we are not to fear God for He is Holy & Just but we must remember first and foremost He is a God of Love! (John 3:16)!!!

Some has said, "If they [the unsaved] are not drawn by the love of God, they will not be dragged by the fear of God." 

This is the wrong kind of fear! We should never be afraid of God or ever cause others to be afraid of Him. But we should always fear Him in the sense of showing reverence. His holiness should have an impact on the way I love and live for Him. Case in-point, Isaiah. In chapter 5 the prophet has the right view of God (5:16), but the wrong view of himself. What he said about God and even the judgment of God was accurate, but something was missing. In chapter 6 he is confronted with the HOLINESS of his God and it affected him in a way that changed his life. In chapter 5 his view of God is, “woe to all others”, seven times he declares woe on others.

But in chapter 6 when he saw the holiness of the God in which he had to do, it was no longer woe everyone else, it was woe is me! And once confronted and confessed he no longer had a fear based message, but one of compassion! The content of the preaching never changed, but the preacher was personally and forever changed! The wrong kind of fear says, "Woe is you" the right kind of fear says, "Woe is ME!" The apostle Paul had this same type of compassion for others that came from the right type of fear of God. He could say, "For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!" He had the same kind of encounter that Isaiah had with the living God and no longer had a fear based ministry as when he was a Pharisee. Now he had a Christ centered, compassionate driven ministry that we are benefiting from today. 

If we have the wrong in look of ourselves, we will have the wrong up look of God and it will affect our out- look of others! What we need is on-going, daily fresh encounters with Christ and His love will flow out of us to one another and to the lost!

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