We cannot love people out of fear of people. The love will not reach them. It will have no power. In my own life, I’ve often slipped into the attitude which tries to love people on their terms. But when a person is sinful, loving them on their terms could be a very disastrous thing.
So many times, the Holy Spirit places a desire to testify or heal in my heart. And so many times, the wicked thoughts come: “I shouldn’t inconvenience them; they might reject me; what if I say something wrong and accidentally misrepresent God?” So I do nothing, and my neighbor remains painfully unaware of love.
The Bible says, “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” When we do not fear God, we end up fearing men, and men shift like sands in the desert. In fearing men, our “love” for them will not be steadfast and true, but it will stem from a people-pleasing spirit. Inevitably, while trying to love one, we will alienate and betray another.
God has been revealing His answer to me: the fear of God. Fearing God is simply revering Him, the most holy, as the utmost authority in our lives. When we understand His authority and justice, we more fully understand the power of His love. We must understand just how much He hates sin if we are to grasp the full measure of His forgiveness.
If my own personal sin was easy to brush off and tolerate, Jesus’ blood would be worthless. The blood of God Himself is not worthless, but priceless! God did something hard when He forgave me. Oh, how much He loves! My standard of love, then, must come from one place alone: the highest place. The love I give to people must be purely His.
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,
that one may turn away from the snares of death.”–Proverbs 14:27