Monday, January 26, 2009

The Fruit of Fear

Job 28:28, "The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding."

I am a fearful person. You name it, I'm probably afraid of it. If I started to make a list now, this post would be longer than you'd care to read. I hate that so much of my life has been dictated by fear. It has kept me from really living.

Scripture tells me that God alone is to be feared. He is the only One worthy of my fear, yet He is continually saying to me "fear not". Why? Because I have misplaced fear. Only this fear, the fear of the Lord, casts out fear. All other fears will essentially be destroyed for every other creature or idea or place rests under the Almighty. Nothing else is as powerful.

This fear is not the shaking in our boots, hiding under the covers fear, but a reverence for the One who is to be feared. Too often we forget our deep awe for the character of God, His holiness and His sovereignty. We let Him get smaller and our impressions bigger. When we learn to love the wisdom of God, then we will understand the fear of the Lord.

I can remember as a young child sitting in a Sunday School class or attending Vacation Bible School, and the salvation message would be given. At the end of the presentation a question would always be asked: Would anyone here like to ask Jesus to forgive their sins and invite Him into their heart? Fear kept my hand down.

I grew up in a Christian home. My Dad was a lay preacher. Approximately 50 Sunday's a year our family would find themselves in different churches as my Dad would take the pulpit of a Pastor who was either ill or on vacation. As the visiting Minister's children much was expected of my sister and I. Pressure and expectation were put on us to be more than we were and know more than we did. Assumptions were made that were incorrect. With the passing of time, acknowledging that a personal decision had not been made yet became more difficult. It wasn't until the 'fear of the Lord' became greater than the fear of people that my heart surrendered. The proper fear of the Lord brought with it understanding. Understanding Who I was receiving was worth the whispering.

This wisdom is not knowledge. It is not just the gaining of information. It is a lifestyle. We all know people with great intellect, but there is a vast contrast to someone who is truly wise. Wisdom is the fruit of fearing the Lord.

The fear of the Lord is both loving and hating. Loving wisdom and hating evil. How do we know if we have the proper fear of the Lord? It will show up in our obedience. Deuteronomy 5:29 says, "Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always". Obedience is linked to the fear of the Lord.

"The Church needs to become a gloriously dangerous place where nothing is safe in God's presence except us." Mike Yaconelli

The fear of the Lord is true wisdom. The culmination of wisdom is liberating love that no longer needs to fear. "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." 1 John 4:18


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3 comments:

Sheryl said...

2008 was a very difficult year for me. However, it taught me that I am a MUCH-AFRAID person. God put that in my face so we can deal with it now.

Thank you so much for your post. It reminded me that the only One I need to fear is the One who casts out all other fears.

Blessings.

On Purpose said...

1 John 4:18 has been presented to me twice now in the past few days about fear...and as I sit here this morning...I need to know in my heart the proper placement of the proper fear to have. Joy you bring such wisdom from Him and share it so beautifully...thank you!

Laura said...

I read a great book by Mark Buchannon called, Your God is too Safe. It was very liberating. That said, I think fear is a natural part of being in this weak vessel. I struggle. I did not know your father was a lay preacher, Joy. How wonderful, and yet, I know how hard that can be on children. I've heard the stories. I hope that the good far outweighed those other issues for you.

You bless me with your thoughts on scripture.