“And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.”–Luke 12:4–5
Known as the “Nine Day Queen,” Lady Jane Grey was just fifteen years old when she was briefly placed on the throne of England before being deposed by Bloody Mary, who would later order her execution. Jane Grey never wavered in her faith, even when told that converting to Catholicism might spare her life. In a letter not long before her death, she wrote, “For my sins the body of Christ was broken, and his blood shed on the cross. I ground my faith upon God’s word, and not upon the church. The faith of the church must be tried by God’s Word, and not God’s Word by the church; neither yet my faith.” She feared disappointing God more than losing her own life, and her faith remains a shining example hundreds of years later.
The first and greatest commandment is that we love God above all else and all others. The priority of God determines how we spend our lives—how we use our time, talents, and resources. If He is first, then we will be devoted to following His Word and obeying His will. Yet the lives of many Christians do not reflect those priorities as being the most important. Too often we lose sight of the balanced nature of God’s character. Yes, He is a loving and gracious Father to His children. Yet, He also hates sin with a fiery wrath, and He will not allow it to go unpunished: “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil” (Proverbs 16:6).
When we understand the holiness and character of God, we fear failing Him more than anything else.– Daily in the Word