Love, Not Fear

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(Part 2–Your Relationship with God)

When you fall in love, you become deeply aware of the other person. Suddenly, the other person becomes very real to you. He or she is often in your thoughts. The same thing is true with our relationship with God. It is characterized by love. Most Christians fear God. That is good if the fear is born of reverence and awe. But if the fear has to do with punishment, then that relationship is not characterized by love. For the Bible says that there is no fear in love and that perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18).

So if you have a relationship with God, instead of fear, it will be characterized by love. Now how do you know you love God? Before answering that question, let me ask, how do you know whether you love another person? You know it when you long to spend time with the other person; to talk with him or her and share life with that person; isn’t it? Same with the relationship with God. Do you long to spend time with Him? Reading the Bible much, spending time in prayer, thinking loving and worthy thoughts of God are all ways of expressing this relationship.

This relationship is also characterized by joy. Even though we may pass through difficult and sorrowful times in life, when we spend time in God’s presence there is joy. So many people miss this joy because they think of reading the Bible or spending time in prayer as boring or a very formal thing.

Let me make this clear. Reading the Bible can become a joyous process when you understand that it gives life to you. The words written in the Bible are God-inspired and they contain life. If a car cannot run without fuel or if the body cannot function well without food; so also our life cannot be lived at its highest without listening to and obeying the words of God. When you thus listen to God daily you get wisdom to live your life on earth well. If you trust God and obey what He has instructed through the Bible, you will have great joy in life. You’ll soon learn to experience this joy even in difficult circumstances of life. In summing up, joy comes by active listening, trusting and obeying God in this relationship.

Now coming to prayer. The basic understanding we have of prayer is of asking God for our needs. That is OK. But as far as a relationship is concerned, there is more to it than asking. Prayer is therefore not just a means to ask, but also to share what we feel with God. We are free to share with Him our fears, anger, desires, our temptations, our thoughts of revenge against others, our feeling of loneliness etc. In other words, we can and should be totally honest with God. It then increases our intimacy with Him. We need to understand that He is our heavenly Father. And the best in prayer happens when we approach God with freedom and confidence and boldness. This is the privilege of a child of God. And you are one.

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