Our motivational scheme in life are a key to our performance and our perseverance. Our “keep on keeping on” will be largely determined on how we are motivated. This is true in our walk on earth with God.
God gives us a series of motivational means to keep us in the game until the end. I.e., in the bible we are clearly commanded, advised, directed to fear God. It is one of the ways we are to be motivated in our walk on the earth.
Look at this:
“2 Co 7:1 Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
Perfecting Holiness would be to live up to your position with God.
Notice we are to be motivated by “fear” and “promises”. Promises would be our rewards and fear would be our response to the consequence from our sins and lack of work in the kingdom with our giftedness. We must accept the fact there is a consequence in Heaven for our performance here on earth.
Why is this concept so repugnant to the body today?
Many have done word studies and know fear is terror (phobia), etc. but they reject any terror in their life. So what does fear look like in my life. I don’t experience the emotion of fear/terror very much anymore as I had in my youth, but I must be on guard and concerned and fearful of the consequence of erroneous behavior or thought. I must believe there is consequence for my life performance in eternity because the Bible says there is. This does not mean my salvation is in question but my accountability to God is for how I lived out my life. Remember, only God knows for sure your eternal destiny. But again, I fear—more than anything—that my disobedience gives lie to my profession & indicates I am really headed for hell.
Since I don’t feel the emotion of fear much anymore, I must define what this fear looks like and not just ignore it or think I will feel it. Fear is not just an emotion, it is a resolution of my regard for God’s promise of ultimate accountability.
I will be accountable to God on how I define this fear and my response. I will not be accountable for your definition, but I will for mine. You get to explain your thinking to God of your “fear” of Him. But in this thinking let us not forget Matt. 10:28 “And be not afraid of them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell:”
There must always be a sensor in my Spirit seeking the right path and sensitive to the consequence of sin, I.e. Disobedience and wasted giftedness.
Different people may have a different take on the consequences but one consequence we know for sure is that for disobedience or wasting our gifts is “experiencing loss” in eternity. Now that’s a long time.
I was pondering God’s selection of the word “phobia”. As I thought about my primary phobia, the fear of heights, or acrophobia, it seemed to me two primary ingredients were involved to activate that fear. Those ingredients were “imminent” and “inherent”, i.e. The fear was manifested when 1) I had a sudden sense of “not being grounded”, and 2) when my inherent sense of risk was activated. (Just to be clear on the terms I found “Likely to occur at any moment” as the definition for “imminent”, and “Existing in someone or something as a permanent and inseparable element, quality, or attribute” for “inherent”).
When I applied that to the commands to fear God, it seemed to me that it requires a sense of the imminent as we would gain from applying verses such as Psalm 90:12, 1 Thes. 5:2, and Matt. 24:43, as illustrations. To have the “inherent sense of risk” we would need the understanding that fear of loss indicates the object, or direction, of our hope. Furthermore, the degree of fear indicates the priority of our hope. With that in mind in seems to me, we will lack a fear “phobia” of God unless, or until, we gain, and retain, a sense of the uncertainty regarding our time on earth, and with that, a true prioritizing of our eternal hope(s) over our temporal. As a sidebar, my sense is that we are confused about how to both love and fear God because we do not sense (believe) there is consequence for the believer (loss of reward) for lacking the two elements noted.
From a different perspective, I think there is an element of human behavior at play. I have read surveys on human behavior where they tell an incoming college class of freshman that statistics show about 50% will not graduate. They then ask for a show of hands of who thinks they will graduate, and around 90% raise their hands. I think that same pattern occurs when people read (with even more significant percentages) Matt. 7:13-23.