In the Old Testament, they loved God out of fear. That’s because frightening things kept happening. They were struck down by lightning, or invaded by stronger armies, that kind of thing. So their love was a fearful love.
But I think God said, “No, this is going to change. The New Covenant will change our relationship. I sent my Son to pay the ultimate price, and now my children will love me out of respect.”
My love for God is respectful and reverential. I love Him because of what He did for me. And I think that that’s where things have changed. That’s where you see the New Covenant. And because our love has changed, for the New Covenant Christian, the way we do things has also changed.
We see an example of this in the Book of Acts. There was a dispute about circumcision. Peter was preaching it, and Paul got mad at him, and they went to the council for a decision. The council consulted and then said, “It seems good to us, and it seems good to the Holy Spirit, that it does not matter what you do to your flesh. It’s about the heart.”
This is the New Covenant Christian. We go the Holy Spirit, and trust the wisdom we receive.
That’s what I’m trying to accomplish with my own children. I don’t want my sons to fear me. I don’t want them to fear my anger. When they make a mistake, I don’t want them to say, “My dad’s going to be so mad at me.”
No, that’s not how I want my children to look at me. I’ll tell them, “When you mess up, I’m going to be embarrassed for you. I’m going to take that. But you shouldn’t fear me, because I love you. And I’m hoping you’re going to change because you respect me.”
And when they see the shame that I take for what they do, they’ll respect me for it. They’ll love me because of what I do for them, just as I love God because of what He did for me. And they will change what they do because of it.