January 26, May 27, September 26
Chapter 7: On Humility
The first degree of humility, then,
is that a person keep the fear of God before his eyes (Ps. 35:2)
and beware of ever forgetting it.
Let him be ever mindful of all that God has commanded;
let his thoughts constantly recur
to the hell-fire which will burn for their sins
those who despise God,
and to the life everlasting which is prepared
for those who fear Him.
Let him keep himself at every moment from sins and vices,
whether of the mind, the tongue, the hands, the feet,
or the self-will,
and check also the desires of the flesh.
Personally, I strenuously object to the kind of evangelism that preys upon people’s fears, attempting to terrify them into the Kingdom of Heaven. I don’t that results in a conversion experience which sticks.
“Fear of God”, as I think I’ve written about earlier, does not tell us to be terrified of God, but to experience awe and reverence that God is God. There is a charming scene in the Wind and the Willows where Badger meets his god, Pan. I think that excellently addresses what “fear of God” looks like. Then, of course, there is Aslan who “is not a tame lion.”
When we fear God as I have described above, we want to please God. We want to do that which God wants of us. We want to seek a holy life. We can do that without belong to a monastery. We can choose what images we put into our heads. We can choose to read our Bibles daily, to pray daily, to seek ways to serve our communities. We can review Chapter 4 of the Rule for ideas.