Who or what do you fear?
I know. You don’t want to tell me. Or maybe you don’t even know. We are all living with some degree of self deception- at different levels. But it is there.
But it’s ok. You don’t have to tell me what you are afraid of. Your life tells everyone that wants to listen. It shows.
Are you horrified when your children have a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store? Why? Is this their first one? Ever? No. In fact that same tantrum elicits a slightly different emotion in the confines of your own home. You might feel frustrated or annoyed, but in the middle of the store? It’s fear. What will people think???
What about right before people come over? Are you running around like a crazy person? Are you more intensely encouraging(read: yelling) your children to clean their rooms than normal? That’s fear. What will people think?
I looked online for a list of what people fear, and found the following list to be the most relevant. Yes, people are afraid of spiders and public speaking. But when thinking about the fears that drive our lives and affect our decisions, this list is right on.
Losing your freedom
That list. It humbles me.
Daily we are making decisions from fear. But here is the kicker. That is actually a good thing. However fear becomes a problem when it is misdirected.
Because the “Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” Proverbs 9:10
As Christians, we are always on this mysterious hunt for wisdom. Without a doubt, “wisdom” would have to be the number one answer to the question, “How can I pray for you?”
And right here we have the key to the beginning of wisdom. Fear God. The contra-positive is also true. Making decisions without fear of God, not so wise.
How do we show fear for God?
I fell in love with a guy who had made a commitment not to date anyone for a year, two weeks before he met me. Consequently, for an entire year, we made no mention of any feelings for each other. None. No hands held. No kisses exchanged. Nada. Because I knew enough to know, that you do not mess with a vow to God. My decision was based on a healthy fear of a righteous God who says it is better not to make a vow to God at all then to make it in haste and break it. And I liked this guy too much to risk messing it up royally by starting it out breaking his vow to God. (spoiler alert……..it worked out!!)
Chapter 26 displays a prime example of fearing God rather than man. David had another chance to kill Saul. But he passed. Why? Because more than he feared Saul (which was a lot) he feared God.
9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed and be blameless?” 10 David added, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will certainly strike him down: either his day will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11 However, because of the Lord, I will never lift my hand against the Lord’s anointed. Instead, take the spear and the water jug by his head, and let’s go.”
Those are two larger than life examples of how we show a healthy fear of God. But the really expression of obedience is in the day to day decisions.
Misplaced fear leads to the need to control. Control your children. Control your friends. Control your spouse. Control your environment.Control your boss. The list goes on and on.
Yet fearing God leads to freedom!
David knew that Saul’s days were limited, because of God’s promise. David knew his victory was going to come directly from the hand of God. He feared God, not man. He was free.
So many things that stress me out during the day are related to fear. I would challenge you to think about this as you go through the day and find your own stress building. Don’t let that moment pass you by. Examine yourself before the Lord as we are told to do time and time again. Discover what is causing you to fear. Revisit the above list. Identify the misplaced fear and replace it with freedom.
Fearing God leads to trusting God.
Just like our actions give away our source of fear, our actions also display our lack of fear. If you do not fear God, it will show.
If a fool says in his heart “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1) than what about a man that knows there is a God, and yet does not fear Him. Too often, that is us.
This is what the Bible says about those that fear the Lord.
Prov 14:26-27 (NIV) He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.
Ps 34:9 (NEB) Fear the Lord, all you his holy people; for those who fear him lack nothing.
Prov 19:23 (NEB) The fear of the Lord is life; he who is full of it will rest untouched by evil.
Ps 118:4 (NIV) Let those who fear the LORD say: “His love endures forever.”
Take one or any of these verses today. Write it out. Meditate on it.
Also, check out this video link below on the fear of God by Pastor Chet Lowe. I guarantee that you will not soon forget the truths expressed. I have never experienced a service like this one. Ever. It was truly powerful and necessary.