From Fear to Love.

Who are they that fear the Lord? He will teach them the way that they should choose.
Psalm 25:12
The fear of God is often misunderstood. Most people seem to be of the opinion that this refers to fear of a vengeful Deity who punishes those who don't, well, fear. But isn't it at all. Picture your front yard after a snowfall. It is perfectly smooth and white, as yet untrodden by human or animal. It is so beautiful you fear marring it with your footprints. 

The same can be said of a beach after the tide has gone out. You're on vacation but so used to rising early that you see it before anyone else has walked on the sand. Once again, you fear being the first to disturb the perfection of the sand.

One more example. Let's imagine a child who has never been abused, and only ever been spoken to in kindness. There are such children. And many of these children love their parents so much that they fear misbehaving or doing in poorly in school—not because they fear a beating, but because they're afraid to disappoint their mother or father.

Such is the fear of God. It is reverence for perfection, not fear of punishment. When we fear such a God, we long to be directed to the path that would most please such a Deity. Choosing such a path will always lead to more knowledge and insight. And with knowledge and insight comes love. Not a stingy love given begrudgingly, but a love that overflows in the way we speak and act.

This is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight.
 Philippians 1:9
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
O awesome God! Put me on the right path. Grant me knowledge and understanding. And fill me with your love, in Jesus' Name.
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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