Monday, October 26, 2009

Love and fear of God changes individuals

I am going to explain something here that many of you will have to take my word about, simply because so few of these people still exist in the world today and thus not many of you will have been able to observe in person people as the ones I am describing. What I am going to describe to you, though, is the reason why when one reads the Bible, especially the New Testament, one observes the continual use of genuinely affectionate terms such as "brother and sister" and "brethren," even among relative strangers.

When a person fears and loves the Lord, God, (and here I don't mean specifically Jesus, so hold on and I'll explain why later), one's actual personality changes without doing anything else. If you take a person who beforehand did not love or fear God, and he or she now acquires genuine fear and love of God, even if nothing else at all changes about that person, their basic personality changes. They then become the object of affection of people who would not have otherwise even necessarily liked them at all, and likewise they will have affection for people that they would not have considered liking before. This is entirely separate from them now commencing doing "more good deeds" OR being in "fellowship" with a particular church or congregation members. When one acquires fear and love of God, genuinely so, simply as an individual state of mind, you become more attractive in personality to others AND you are attracted, have a larger heart, to others in turn, even if you change nothing else about you at all. Of course in real life a person who genuinely loves and fears God does make changes in their life if appropriate. But I am explaining to you that this is a separate process, entirely due to the one change of acquiring fear and love of God.

This is why I am explaining this separate from love and reverence of Jesus. Understand that Jesus is the way to finding fear and love of God. Jesus, however, if you carefully examine the scriptures never once induced or encouraged fear of himself, Jesus. All fear is to be directed to God himself, not to Jesus. You see, when you love Jesus that is a great and wonderful thing, but it is only half the cake. The other half is that you must do what Jesus taught, which is to fear and hence with that fear love God. I've explained in previous posts that fear of God is a gift of grace from the Holy Spirit and that it is not terror, but fear of ever losing God, and fear of being given what you actually deserve, which is perfect judgment. So someone who fears God is both 1) afraid of ever losing God's grace through their own actions and 2) afraid and in awe of God's role as judge where he will respond to any and all iniquity and unrighteousness performed by a person and concluding, of course, in final judgment. Thus one is not to be in terror of God, unless you have a guilty conscience, ha, in which case you need him all the more, not less.

Over time people have become puffed up with themselves, especially with the flourishing of science and other studies in the period of human history called "the Enlightenment." (Ha, how self important even that sounds.) So for several hundred years people have been on a downward trend of fearing God, even as one could suppose their love of Jesus has increased as his word has been evangelized more broadly around the world. People are so impressed with themselves due to industrialization and intellectual matters that they have forgotten, even skipping over those words in the Bible, that they must (not optional) Fear the Lord God. In their eagerness to evangelize even the most pious have fallen into that trap. They push onto new converts the concepts of the loving Jesus, true, but gloss over the very firm and strict admonishments that Jesus gave to fear and to love only God. Jesus never drew love toward himself, even though that was a natural outcome of his truth, and he never ever allowed himself to be viewed as a fearsome object of divine worship. This is because he redirected all those appropriate impulses, love and fear, directly upward to God, where they belong.

That is why we love Jesus so much... because he himself feared and loved God the Father. He is the first role model of the Christian era in what I am explaining here.

Those who were attracted to Jesus and who loved him as brethren did so not because he cured them or was smarter or more scary with his powers than anyone else. Jesus himself in the purest form shows the attractive power of a human being who genuinely loves AND fears God. Again, remember that fear of God is not being in terror or afraid, so obviously Jesus is not afraid of God. Also since Jesus knew much of God's total plan he is part of God, God's face toward humanity, so naturally he is an exception in that as in all things. However, Jesus is the ultimate role model and thus one understands that those who felt genuine love for him, both those who knew him then, and those who follow him through the centuries since he lived on earth, are in a large part responding to that lovability, for lack of a better word, of someone who has fear and love of God as the foundation of their character.

Therefore, think about the Apostles, the disciples, and the early Christians who traveled far and spread the word of the New Covenant that was brought by Jesus from God. One cannot miss the genuine affection as evidenced in the Book of Acts and the Letters (Epistles) in the New Testament between fellow Christians. But remember, with such long distances, this genuine affection was not because "they went to the same church" or "performed more good deeds and works." In fact, this was a lessening of "works," as in the Jewish Law and more of "charity," which is yes, deeds driven, but in the large part genuine feelings of love and good will. People had this remarkable genuine affection for each other even though they did not worship together, were miles apart, and did not instantly start performing more "good deeds." What was the reason? This is what I am explaining. Through Jesus people felt their individual fear and love of God tremendously increased, and this promotes a deep foundational change in character, personality and mutual attractiveness, even if nothing else in their lives changed at all.

If you read literature or personal letters and writings from as recently as several hundred years ago, when a woman or a man yearned for a person to love and marry, often they hoped for someone "God fearing." People today thinks that means someone who has the same faith, goes to the same services and congregation, joins the same fellowships, and who does good deeds. No, what God fearing means is someone who fears God. It is what it is. People used to yearn for a spouse who was God fearing because that actually makes them more attractive and invigorating a partner. All of the implications of what congregations to join and what activities to do falls as a natural outcome from what comes first, which is that they found a person who feared God to be "hot."

Likewise, outside of the love partnerships and interests, people sought out other God fearing people as neighbors, friends and work colleagues. While they did not feel "hot" toward those people, ha, keep it real here folks, the best way I can describe it is the special affection that children who are twins have for each other.

When a genuinely God fearing person encounters another God fearing person, they often feel the special bond that twin siblings feel.

This is why people had such emphasis on calling each other brethren, and brother or sister, in traditional times. They felt as though they shared a parent, and that parent is fear and love of God. Even if, like modern twins, they have separate lives and different interests far away from each other, there is in most cases a special affectionate sharing that twins find hard to describe to others who are not twins. When one reads of the passing of a twin due to death, often the remaining twin describes that as being missing part of their actual self. This is what truly God fearing and loving people share.

I can testify to you that I have seen the changes in attractiveness, in both loving and brethren type of relationships, when a person who previously did not fear or love God starts to embark on acquiring those feelings. I have seen those people change and mightily increase their attractiveness, even if they change little else about their day to day lives. They will, of course, change their lives because it is inevitable that a life with fear and love of God is vastly different from one where there was no fear or love of God, or if it was half hearted, lukewarm or insincere. But the process is dramatic even before that change to receiving fear and love of God into one's heart actually generates those subsequent behavior and life changes. I often think when I see a person who genuinely loves and fears God "Oh, what a good catch he or she is for someone," or "What a great friend that person would be." I'm thinking that from the sheer magnetism, for lack of a better word, of a person who rightly fears and loves God, and not because they are handsome, more fun to be around, belongs to a cool crew, or whatever.

People used to understand and live by that. Ever look at paintings of rigid and staid looking married couples, and wonder how they had so many children? LOL. There is a huge attractiveness of a man or woman who fears and loves God first and foremost.

That is why you can trust the affectionate words of St. Paul in his epistles (letters) even when he is yelling at a group of Christians for bad behavior that he has that genuine "twin fellowship" shared with them, and them in return, in his heart. People were not just using words of speech patterns, like "Mister" is today. In other words, we call anyone "Mister" if he's an adult male, whether he is a good person or not. People did not in the "olden days" (despite what moderns think) call each other "brother" or "sister" because that was the word that everyone used. It meant something much deeper and it was used by choice, not by necessity.

If you understand what I mean you understand then these examples. People from different even "rival" congregations should feel that "brother" or "sister" twinships if each person is truly fearing and loving God first. It's like if twins got separated and adopted into different families. They are still twins. People should be twins and feel accordingly when they encounter another person who genuinely fears and loves God, even if they are of different congregations or even faiths. That is one reason I loved the short time I spent in Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country. I found a real fellowship in feeling in my heart so many people who fear and love God first and foremost. This is exactly what the disciples and Apostles and the early Christians who were scattered throughout many countries felt, that genuine attractiveness of character and personality of a fellow person who loved and feared God the way they did.

Loving and fearing God is like the ultimate "face lift." If you fear and love God you will find that your heart warms to many more people than it did before, and different types of people than those you would consider attractive or lovable in character. Many people who hate me do not have fear and love of God in their hearts. Suppose these people did start to cultivate fear and love of God in their hearts. They still might not think I am beautiful and they might never even really like me as a person, but their hatred of me would melt away. And without that hatred in their hearts they would become more attractive to more people in their own social circles; whether they liked or hung out with me would not be important anymore.

Love and fear of God melts away the barriers in yourself that keep you from being more attractive and lovable to others.

I hope that you have found this helpful.