Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | April 19, 2015

April 19, 2015 “The Principal’s Office”

“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling;  for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2: 12-13)

Good Morning and Blessed Lord’s Day My Friends!

When I was an elementary school student, there were no more dreaded words that I recall than “I am sending you to the Principal’s office.” When one was given such an order from the teacher, it was usually due to some egregious offense not assuaged by a “time out” in the corner or a verbal reprimanding by the teacher. It was more likely an introduction to the “board of education” applied to the posterior end of the recalcitrant student. Thankfully, there were very few visits I was directed to make to the office, but on those few occasions when I did, it was always with a healthy dose of “fear and trembling.” In reality, my elementary school principal was more of a jovial soul who truly did love the students at the school, but if justice was to be meted out, he was quite capable of administering it, so he was worthy of both the fear and the admiration of each student.

I have noticed a trend prevalent in many churches today…a “pendulum swing”, as it were, where God’s love, which is undeniable, is no longer tempered with an equal emphasis on the fear of the Lord, to the point that some conclude that a benevolent God would overlook virtually any sinful behavior on our part because he loves us so much. As a result, many have lost any fear of the Lord and see God as one who stands on the ready to meet our every need while ignoring our lack of submission to His perfect will. Youth pastor Mike Yaconelli states this well, saying,

“The tragedy of modern faith is that we no longer are capable of being terrified. We aren’t afraid of God, we aren’t afraid of Jesus, we aren’t afraid of the Holy Spirit. As a result, we have ended up with a need-centered gospel that attracts thousands…but transforms no one.” 

Many churches today teach a partial gospel, which in reality is an “incomplete  gospel”, that emphasizes a God who stands on the ready to meet our every need (which He can and will do), but ignores his demands of service and obedience. Paul, the same apostle who wrote “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” in Philippians 4:19, also prefaced this declaration to them with the admonishment, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling;” in Philippians 2:12.  God is to be “feared” as well as “revered.” When you are summoned to the “Divine Principal’s Office” to give an account of your life, it will be with fear and trembling, no matter your attitude presently. Understanding that now will change our attitude towards God from one of some sort of wish-granter to one deserving of our reverence and worship. Let’s pray!

I come before you today, O Lord, with fear and trembling. I cannot even look upon your dazzling holiness and righteousness, yet in your amazing and undeserved love, I am welcomed into Your Great Throne Room through this time of prayer and meditation. Continue to sanctify me, O Lord, fitting me for heaven, my true home. This I pray in Jesus’ wonderful Name. Amen!

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