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(Part 15)


December 26, 2010

Today’s readings
Sirach 3:2-14
Psalm 128:1-5
Colossians 3:12-21

We are near the end of the year 2010, and we will be leaving our theme for this year and move on to the theme for next year. Before we do that, there are still some lessons to be learned, or rather, to be reiterated.

This year we focused on the Almighty who is just and righteous. And the basic posture we have before the Almighty is awe or reverential fear. We have been seeing that such a posture to such an awesome reality is the key to becoming what God wants us to become.

In becoming what God intends for us to become, we fulfill our destiny, and we will be happy, in this life, but more especially in the life hereafter. And so the key to such happiness and fulfillment is awe or fear of God. “Happy are all who fear the Lord” (Ps 128:1a).

Our happiness and fulfillment is in having a wonderful family life (Ps 128:3), and in having what is needed to enjoy life (Ps 128:2). Family and an abundant life--that is what it is all about. “Just so will they be blessed who fear the Lord.” (Ps 128:4).

So fear of the Lord is key. How do we manifest our fear of the Lord? We “walk in the ways of God.” (Ps 128:1b). We obey Him. We put on His mind. We follow His ways. We love as He loves. We go where He wants us to go.

First, we manifest fear of the Lord with regard to our family. The family is the basic environment where God forms us. The patterns of relationships in the family reflect what is of God. God teaches us many things about the family, how family members are to live their lives together. What pervades the family environment is honor (or respect) and service. Family members honor one another in recognition that each is a child of God. Family members serve one another as Christ who came to serve. “He who fears the Lord honors his father, and serves his parents as rulers.” (Sir 3:7).

When we give honor and respect (or reverence), we atone for sins (Sir 3:3), store up riches (Sir 3:4), are gladdened by children (Sir 3:5a), are heard when we pray (Sir 3:5b), will live a long life (Sir 3:6a), and will receive our parents’ blessing that gives the family firm roots (Sir 3:8-9a). However way we cut it, whichever way we look, we are blessed. Looking back, our past sins are forgiven. Looking forward, we will live a long life. Looking up, we receive our parents’ blessing. Looking down, we are gladdened by children.

We are able to honor and serve one another when we have our family relationships in order. These relationships reflect the very ways of God. Wives are subordinate to their husbands (Col 3:18a) as the church is subordinate to Christ. Husbands love their wives (Col 3:19a) as Christ loved the church. Children obey their parents in everything (Col 3:20a), since parents stand in the place of God in caring for their (God’s) children. “For the Lord sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.” (Sir 3:2). All these family relationships are “proper in the Lord” and “pleasing to the Lord.” (Col 3:18b,20b).

Second, we manifest fear of the Lord with regard to the Christian community. Paul addressed the Colossians, and outlined to them what constituted a life lived for God. The basic principle was this: “whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col 3:17a). Christ is our all. We live and die for him.

As is the case in the family, what is important is honor (respect, reverence) and service. We give God the honor and glory due to Him, and we give of ourselves to be His instruments to use as He intends. We are “God’s chosen ones” (Col 3:12a) and we are called to be holy, set apart for Him, called to be like Him.

We are also called to live in peace as one body (Col 3:15a). Such peace shows to the world that Christ reigns in the body, and such peace allows God to use the body as He sees fit.

How do we grow in holiness unto the Lord?

In our relationship with God

  • We worship (Col 3:16c).
  • We are always giving thanks to God (Col 3:15b,16d,17b).
  • We grow in knowing and living the word of God (Col 3:16a);

    In our relationship with one another

  • We put on “heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Col 3:12b);
  • We bear with one another and forgive one another (Col 3:13a);
  • We encourage, support, admonish, correct one another (Col 3:16b);
  • We put on love, which is the bond of perfection (Col 3:14);

The fear of the Lord is indeed the beginning of wisdom. We have much to learn in our life in Christ. But if we have learned that God the Almighty is owed reverential fear and awe, and are starting to live out that reality, then we are well on our way to becoming the people God intends for us to become.

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