I have a fear of flying. The idea of sitting in a chair thousands of feet in the air supported by something called "physics" makes me very uncomfortable. On a more serious level I am fearful that my kids may not come to faith in Christ, or that I am failing terribly at being a mom. Fear can eat a person up on the inside. It has power. What is fear? Chris Poblete in, The Two Fears, says, “To fear something is to give credence to its power over you.”
When I fear a storm or a tornado I am giving credence to its power to destroy. If someone fears sickness they are given credence to the power that illness can have in their life; the power to leave them weak and frail, even the power to take their life.
It troubles me that while there are a number of things that lead me to say, "Woe is me," the fear of The Lord is not often enough one of them. (Is. 6:5) To fear man or the world is often inappropriate (Matt. 10:28), but to fear The Lord is always necessary.
Fearing the Lord means giving credence to his power which results in awe, praise and obedience.
Since fearing God trumps the fear of man it should change my heart and actions in many areas of my life. Here are some areas of my life that I am working on.
“The fear of the Lord tends to take away all other fears… This is the secret of Christian courage and boldness.” Sinclair B. Ferguson
My problem is that I lack courage and boldness when it comes to reaching out to my neighbors or speaking out for Jesus. Godly fear will cause me to stand up for the name of Jesus, to speak out for what is right, to love those who are hard to love. It will cause me to share the gospel without shame and it will give me joy to share what I have with others. The fear of the Lord causes boldness.
I hate to even admit how many times the kids have required disciplining but I was too tired to get up, too lazy to walk downstairs, or too selfish to leave the computer in order to deal with the issue. There have been times when I just did not want to deal with the crying or arguing the discipline might awaken. And so I failed by doing nothing.
This would not happen if I truly feared the Lord since it will make my first concern the glory and honor of God and not the reaction of my children. I would be much more interested in reflecting the character of Jesus in my actions instead of giving in to my fatigue and personal desires. The fear of the Lord causes obedience.
PersonallyIt sure is easy to talk about praying without ceasing or reading my Bible each and every day. But on days when life gets busy and selfishness rears its ugly head it can be the hardest thing to do. Fearing the Lord will make me slow down or get up early in order to meet with God. Laziness will be beaten down because my respect for God triumphs over the selfishness in my heart. The fear of the Lord causes passion.
“He is the mighty Saviour and great Redeemer who can regenerate a heart, reform it from the inside out, and keep it for all eternity.” Poblette
He is the God who sends the rains from the lightest drizzle to the most torrential downpours. He is the Christ who changes hearts and gives them a passion for God and a love for his word which goes against their nature. And until I fear him I will not rightly respond to him. And I need to know this: the fear of the Lord stems from a right relationship with him. To know him, to really know him, not just about him, leads to the kind of fear I need.