Thursday, March 6, 2014

Don't Be Cut Short

Today’s Bible readings are Numbers 6:1-7:89, Mark 12:38-13:13, Psalm 49:1-20, & Proverbs 10:27-28

Proverbs 10:27-28
27 Fear of the Lord lengthens one’s life, but the years of the wicked are cut short. 28 The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing.

In the last few years I have become more aware of the fact that my days on Earth will not last forever. When I was younger, I only thought about the here & now. It seemed, in my mind, that I was invincible. The perception I had was that I was going to live forever in this life. I never spent much time thinking about the things that I was doing & how they would affect the days ahead of me. As a result, I lived carelessly. I did things that were not wise & lived like a fool.

Then I came to know Jesus when I was 23. I began to realize that God has a plan for my life. I also began to consider the fact that He expects me to fulfill the plan that He has for my life. I started to look at each day differently. I started to look at the way I was living life & the habits that I had as things that could hinder my purpose. This is when it all began to change.

One of our readings today teaches us that the fear of the Lord lengthens our life. Let’s look at this to learn what this means.

What is the “fear of the Lord”? There is a proper fear of God & there is an unhealthy fear of God. First of all, God does not desire to hurt you. He has no pleasure in punishing you. God is not an angry person waiting for us to mess up so He can zap us with lightning bolts. He is not a drill sergeant shouting commands so loud that we are afraid. Listen to what the scripture says:


Romans 8:31

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

The Holy Spirit wants us to know that God is for us; He is on our side. So the fear of the Lord is not a fear like that of being afraid of being punished. It is motivated by love & NOT FEAR. The best word that I can think of to describe this is the word “reverence”.

Reverence:  a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe

Respect will cause a person to do what they don’t want to do out of honor for the one the respect. Respect will cause a person to submit in areas that they do not want to submit in. Respect will cause a person to behave in a manner that is not their usual way. Respect is a byproduct of love. That is why I said that the fear of the Lord is motivated by love, not fear.

I want to show you what this looks like according to the bible:


Ephesians 5:15-29

15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.

I know that this is a lot of extra reading, but you really need to see it all in the natural flow to understand this idea. We see a list of things that Paul mentions:

1.      Be careful how you live, don’t live like fools.  NOTE: I could write for a month on living like fools. A lot falls into this category.

2.      Make the most of every opportunity.

3.      Don’t act thoughtlessly.

4.      Don’t get drunk.

5.      Be filled with the Spirit.

6.      Sing songs to the Lord.

7.      Give thanks in everything.

8.      Submit to one another—he goes on to tell us for wives this means submit to your husbands & for husbands this means to live a life of sacrifice for your wives.

The key to accomplishing all of this is found in verse 21:

21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Paul’s train of thought has not been broken. All of these things that are listed are tied together, even though, they aren’t always preached together. The words “AND FURTHER” show us that what was listed before is connected to what is being spoken now. He makes it clear that in order for us to fulfill these 8 things we MUST do it out of reverence for Christ. It is the fear of the Lord that motivates us to live in obedience to these 8 things.

Living in obedience to these 8 things will obviously add length to our life. Living like a fool leads to shortening of life for many reasons. Fools don’t consider the affects things have on them in the future. The only care about what feels good now. Acting thoughtlessly can create accidents that shorten life. Getting drunk leads to health problems, marriage problems, family problems; which all lead to stress, which leads to shortened life.

But making the most of opportunities, being filled with the Spirit, singing to the Lord, giving thanks, & submitting to & honoring our mates ALL ADD DAYS TO OUR LIVES. These things produce joy. These things produce peace. These things are all conducive to healthy living. Lastly, they ALL come through the FEAR OF THE LORD!

Pastor Richard Schlotter

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