Monday, March 11, 2013
Over fifteen years of watching hundreds of different dogs, I've observed that some dogs obey their owners out of fear, others out of love, and some who don't obey at all. A dog who obeys out of fear of consequences doesn't necessarily act afraid. While the initial training may have involved harshness, over time they simply developed the habit of obeying. Dogs trained out of love (which may still include consequences, but not harsh ones) obeys because their aim is to please their owner, yet they also develop the habit of obeying. I Some people started their spiritual life out of fear of God - as in if you didn't follow the rules, you'd be struck by lightning. And while some still follow for that reason, the hope of God is that we learn to love Him, and that our obedience flows from the understanding that behaving in the ways he gave us result in our good and extending his love to others is for all our good. However, from the outside, the habit of obedience is the same. My question is "If you're obeying God because you fear him, then why bother?" While their are temporal and eternal consequences for faith, if you today are obeying a God of fear, may I suggest you are not worshipping God at all? God is love, and while a proper regard and respect for God's power and divinity is good (sometimes called fear in the Bible, but with a different meaning), God asks for our faith in Him because he is good - that Jesus' sacrifice for you is one you should trust so you can enjoy God's grace forever. Sometimes I pray out of habit and not because I necessarily want to do so. However, it's a good habit of obedience, and once I'm praying, the time with God is never wasted. Spending time with the one you love and loves you back immensely is never useless.