Do we obey God out of love or out of fear? Once upon a time…there were two women, Belle who was married to Atticus and Betty who was married to Fred. Their marriages were very different. Belle would begin each morning with a kiss from Atticus. Before she began the toil of the day he would spend time with her–encouraging, advising and expressing his love to her. Throughout the day, he would check in with her—even if just to share a word of encouragement. He was Belle’s best friend and she often called him during the day for advice. Belle loved to do things to make him happy and she often re-arranged her schedule to spend more time with him. When she thought of Atticus during the day–it made her smile. She loved to please him and would do anything he asked of her because she knew he loved her. When people saw Belle—they saw the glowing beauty of one who is loved. Betty and Fred’s relationship was quite different. Fred was rarely kind to Betty—unless he wanted something from her or was trying to impress someone else. Most of the time he belittled her and reminded her of her failures and flaws. When things were not done the way he wanted, he was verbally abusive and physically violent. Betty was afraid of Fred, and so she tried to make sure that she did everything he wanted. Betty avoided spending time with Fred. She made herself vulnerable enough to ask his advice. When she thought of him, it struck fear and distaste in her heart. Everyone who saw them together, knew Betty was afraid of Fred. She was cold and bitter about marriage. So–who IS God to us? For many years I thought that God was like Fred and never dreamed He was even better than Atticus. Therefore, I was a cold Christian instead of a beautiful one. Knowing Him has made a profound change in my heart. He is my best Friend, my Comforter, my Guide, my source of Love, my Protector, my Peace, etc. I don’t ever want to be without Him. When I am disobedient, I feel His sadness and I don’t want to sadden the One who has made my heart His home. Jesus said: “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23) When I’m in love with God, He manifests Himself through me: “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21) When we know God we fall in love with Him–and He gives us a deep desire to please Him. His love is the greatest reason to obey!