My grandmother died in 1985. This was eight years before my daughter Hannah was born. My grandmother was very dear and special to me. It is an odd fact, but though she has been gone thirty years, I often miss her like she had just died yesterday. Her ways, her speech, her mannerisms were not at all like anyone else I have known. Grandma had an ability to make each of her grandchildren feel as though they were secretly her favorite. I could tell you such stories about my grandma…
I mentioned that my daughter was born eight years after Grandma’s passing. This means, of course, that Hannah never knew Grandma. All she knows is the stories that I tell her. And though these colorful and amusing anecdotes make her smile, Hannah does not really know her great-grandmother.
Now, had Hannah known Grandma, I am certain she would love her just as I do.
My friend, if God is merely a noun that frequents the pages of Scripture, we cannot truly love Him. If Jesus is just a Bible character, we will never fall in love with Him. But, if we have a relationship with the living God, then we will, in fact, love Him, for to know Him is to love Him.
It would be impossible to have a genuine relationship with God and not love Him.
You see, He is wholly loveable. He is worthy of our deepest affections. But until one takes the time to build a relationship with Him, Jesus will be nothing more than a name from Scripture.
So how is this relationship with the true and living God developed? According to Romans 5:5, the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit will fill our hearts with love. God demands that we love Him and then He gives us the ability to love Him by the working of the Holy Spirit.
There is more. As we trust in Him and discover that He is reliable, our love will grow from the gratitude in our hearts. A number of years ago, the Lord rescued me from an overwhelming problem—a giant of a burden that, I feared, would get the best of me. But Jesus came to my side. He saved me. He spared me from this monumental woe. I have walked with Jesus for over twenty-five years and, my friend, my love for Him grows because I see, again and again, His goodness. He has been very good to me. How could I not love Him?
Read and meditate on the scriptures. Study the Bible. Learn of God through His written word (II Timothy 3:16). As your knowledge of the Bible increases, so will your love and admiration of God—and this is at the heart of fearing God. In fact, to fear God means to have a deep awe and a reverent respect for who He is, what He has done, and what He will do.
This matter cannot be sufficiently explained in one brief article, but I am awed and encouraged by the treasury of end-time prophecy that fills the pages of Scripture (I Corinthians 14:3). The Bible tells us about God’s future plans for us, this earth, and Satan. His plans for you and me are beyond all that we could possibly want—we have many reasons to live with hope and joy, for God has already declared that we are destined for eternal greatness! Now how can a believer read of God’s unbreakable promises and not love Him?
As our relationship with Him flourishes, so will our awe, reverence, and love. This is what it means to fear the Lord.
Do not be timid—approach the Throne Room of God with boldness, for He loves you and He desires a close and personal relationship with you. When God ceases to be a merely a noun, you and I will come to know Him intimately.