Therefore, consider God’s kindness and severity: severity toward those who have fallen but God’s kindness toward you—if you remain in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. (Romans 11:22)
The Bible does not present us with a sugary-sweet cotton-candy God who only thinks pleasant thoughts and wants everybody to be happy. The true God is holy, righteous, and powerful, a God to be feared and reverenced. Unlike us, God does not worry about how many people like him. God does not fret over polls or shape his agenda by the feedback of focus groups. Yet many people carry a false notion of God, thinking only about his kindness and grace while discounting his holiness, righteousness, and justice. Even the church has, at times, fostered a false narrative of God in hopes of making the Christian message more palatable to worldly critics. But such attempts always backfire. The result is that many don’t take God seriously. No one wants to follow a push-over God who worries about his public image, but people will respect a God who acts to preserve his honor. For anyone who might be confused about God’s character, verses like Romans 11:22 put things in quick order. God is indeed merciful, but God is also holy and is to be feared.
Almighty God, I thank you for the great kindness you have shown me throughout the course of my life. Yet let me never forget that you are a righteous and holy God who requires obedience, honor, and worship. I am happy to offer you the worship and reverence you deserve. Let me gaze upon the beauty of your holiness and learn the ways of holiness as your child.