I am just another member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints airing my personal opinions.
This "hands-on" is in the form of what we call a personal testimony.

My personal ideas and interpretations.

I hope it's useful. If not, I hope you'll forgive me for wasting your time.

Above all, don't take my word for the things I write. Look the scriptures up yourself. Your opinion of them is far more important to you than mine.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Scripture-a-Week: Whom Should We Fear?

Matthew 10: 28 --
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Are we supposed to fear the devil? Why does this other scripture (Deuteronomy 4: 10) say,
... I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth,...
That's not the devil speaking there, that's God.

Wait, why are we supposed to be afraid of God, even?

Hebrews 12: 28 is worth a thought.
... let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
Godly fear. What is that? What does it have to do with reverence?

What do you do when you are afraid? Do you panic? Behave like the proverbial deer in the headlights and freeze? Become hysterical or otherwise lose your sense of reason, perspective, and self?

When psychologists talk about responses to stress and fear, you often hear the expression
fight or flight.
I don't think this is godly fear at all. The 34th Psalm is pretty explicit:
4: I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
8: O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
9: O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
Let's look in a dictionary. In the middle of all this stuff about distress and anxiety, we see words like awe and respect. I linked the LDS sripture helps entry on fear above (and here).

I think godly fear is like godly sorrow, it moves us to do good things (2 Corinthians 7: 10). And, more than just motivating us to do good things, it teaches us to have confidence when we stand before God.
... perfect love casteth out fear ... (1 John 4: 16-19)
So, let's look back at some verses around Matthew 10: 28.
29: Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
31: Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
By the way, what kind of power does the devil have?
... Why will ye yield yourselves unto him that he may have power over you, to blind your eyes, that ye will not understand the words which are spoken, according to their truth?  (Alma 10: 25.)
If we don't believe the devil's lies, what kind of power does he have over us?

Is the devil actually able to destroy the soul in hell? The way I read the book of Job, he is not even able to start causing us trials and problems without permission from God. (Job 2: 2-7.) And, if we continue to fear God more than man or the devil, God helps us. It can be kind of painful, but he takes care of us at the end. (Job 42: 10, 12.)

Can we trust God? I think we can -- far more than we can trust human teachers, coaches, family, friends, enemies, whatever.

I admit, I sometimes complain when life gets hard, but I think I can trust Him. He doesn't give me exactly what I think I want when I think I want it, but, like two troubadours said,
... if you try sometimes, you get what you need.
(Yeah, I listen to the Stones, too, sometimes. Owl City, too.)

We don't need to fear the devil, just understand that he will try to decieve us, and tempt us to do things that will not make us happy in the end.

People aren't perfect, and we let each other down sometimes. We don't need to fear people, either. We should try to understand them, instead.

God can be scary sometimes, but I think He is much more dependable than the alternatives. If our fear of God moves us to understanding ourselves, what we are and what we can be, we do not have to be afraid of Him.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4: 18-19.)
If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8: 31, 32.)

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I have no problem with differences of opinion, but seriously abusive comments will get removed when I have time.