Are You Reverent? Is This Relevant?
Psalm 89:5-18; Proverbs 1:7, 29: 3:5-9; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 5:21; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; 1 Peter 2:13-14; 3:15a
Reverence is an aspect of adoration, it is the true response that leads to worship to all that come before God. It is recognizing and honoring the authority of God with awe and fear because He is God and He is more awesome than anything or anyone--period. It also means respecting people, not just because of their position and regardless of their personality, but as brothers and sisters in the Lord and knowing He loves them too!
Hatred, disdain, disloyalty and contempt are the opposites. With these attitudes, we will flee from God's love and precepts, ignore His call and just do our own thing. We will have no fear of God; we will do as we please, placing us on a path of chaos, strife and destruction. We will have no desire to serve Him or do the right thing outside of obligation. We will miss out on true intimacy with Him, destroy relationships, hinder growth in ourselves, others, our church and miss out on the process of maturity, as well as the wonder of His plan.
Proverbs tells us that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. This type of fear is not being scared, or fearful of what will happen, nor is it distrust or terror of God. Rather, it is reverence and awe that fuels our worship and faith. It is the understanding of the wonder and majesty of our incredible God, who transcends time and space and who is bigger than the entire universe He created. He personally knows and loves us with deeper and more love than we could ever comprehend. In the Old Testament, the stipulation put to the Jews was that they follow their God and stick to the covenant. The covenant we have now is grace; the stipulation is that we accept it by faith. The growth of our fear (awe) is the response to His majesty. Reverence is taking the incredible knowledge of His majesty, and applying it to our lives, so we will walk with confidence in our Lord and operate with respect to Him, and to the others whom He knows and loves.
Reverence leads to worship because we can acknowledge who God is and respond in the only way we can, to surrender our will to Him! As His created being, saved by His grace from a destiny we created and deserved, we have an obligation to give Him all of our honor, all of our praise, and all of our adoration. This is the reason for the primary purpose of our saved lives--to give God the glory that is rightly due Him. Why must we? Because He is the Holy, the Sovereign, the Creator (Duet. 7:21; Neh. 4:14; Psalm 48:1; 86:10; 95:3; 97:2; 145:3; Dan. 9:4; 1 Cor. 13:12; Heb. 12:28,29)!
The Bible plainly tells us that we are to show reverence to God and to the things that represent His person and presence (Heb. 12:28,29). Most Christians will say "yes" to the first part, to fear and respect God, but do they do so with one another? What about the things and stuff that represent God, such as stained glass, icons, pew and the church lobby? Many Christians today do not believe that church facilities need respect. Yet, God's Word tells us, "Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the LORD" (Lev. 19:30, 26:2). This passage is referring to a tent where God's sanctuary was set up, not the great temple of Solomon that was built later. So, even the most commonplace location is considered very special to God and is also deserving of our reverence.
Reverence is a very important character regarding how we relate to both God and others. Reverence and respect have similar meanings. However, reverence has more of the meaning of worship and pertains to God. We used to call our ministers, "Reverend" as a means of respect. However, we do not worship them, only God. Ministers are God's representatives, and to a degree, all Christians are included in the doctrine of the "priesthood of the believer." But, most people no longer call their pastors reverend, no longer do children respect their parents. Often they even call them by their first names. We mock our church leaders, ignore their advice, while our churches run down into dysfunction and irrelevancy. We need to be respectful to all people, whether we agree with them or not. We need to recapture the respect of parents and authorities; something that has eroded and caused so much rebellion, creating strife, dysfunction and chaos in our society (Rom. 12:10; 1 Peter 5:5).
When we grow in maturity in the Christian walk, we will naturally show more reverence and respect for God's presence. This mindset must also transfer to how we deal with His creation, with people, and with what represents Him.
We do not wake up one day with character. When we do have it, others will see it, may even point to it, or be discipled from it.