Daily Devotional 6-10-20

The Long and Short of It, Part I
By Rev. Emmanuel Afful

Here is my final conclusion: fear God and obey his commandments, for this is the entire duty of man.  Ecclesiastes 12:13

I started seminary with another student from Ghana, who came to pursue his doctoral studies.  He had tons of books to read and lots of assignments to write. Of course, such volume of work was expected at that level of graduate studies. He set high expectations for himself and would spend sleepless nights reading all pages of his textbooks. But nature caught up with him. One night, during one of his studying times, he had severe headache and was taken to the emergency room. His blood pressure had gone through the roof. One of the professors visited with him at the hospital and told him not to read every single page of the assigned readings. He told him to read the introduction, first two chapters, and the conclusion of the books. The professor told him, “It’s all in the conclusion!”

King Solomon talked extensively about the futility and fallacy of life lived in pursuit of sin and pleasures. He spoke on other themes as well, but his concluding words capture my imagination.  He was blessed by God in wisdom, discernment, and understanding. He had much wealth and walked away from the ordinances of God because his heart was turned to other gods. In his backslidden state, Solomon teaches that the fear of God and obedience to God’s commandments are the duties of every Christian. 

Fear has a strong negative connotation. Unfortunately we usually import that negative meaning into Christian conversations. However, the fear of the Lord is a healthy and required virtue if we desire to walk with God. Fear, in this sense, is reverential. It communicates respect and awe to a loving God. It helps us to have the right relationship with Him, and live a life that represents that relationship. It does not drive us away from God; instead, it invites us into the arms of a loving Father. 

This kind of fear says, “God loves you so much that you don’t have to betray His love by living waywardly.” It makes us see the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross so that we live in humble submission to Him. 

The long and short of the Christian life: respect God, and submit to His love in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.  

PRAYER: May I live a life which does not take you for granted.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.