“Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness – faith, love, peace – joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God.” (2 Tim 2:22 The Message)
When you read the Bible, you discover that there are two kinds of fears:
1. Fear of the unknown and loss of control
2. Fear of the Lord
The first kind of fear can haunt us to such a point that it can interfere with our sleep, our lives, and our loved ones. Panic is often associated with such fear.
The second kind of fear, the Fear of the Lord is completely opposite from the human fear mentioned above. Instead of anxiety, it fills the person with inner peace, happiness and steadfastness. This kind of fear is really no fear at all. Instead of dread, panic and anxiety, it gives us assurances.
This second kind of fear is really loving and respecting the One who loves us the most, the Lover of our soul, so much that we will not want to hurt Him in any way. It is such a deep-rooted love that the thought of being separated from Him for eternity will be very upsetting. Imagine spending eternity without being able to sense His presence! This kind of fear urges us to seek the Lord in all things and to delight in obeying Him, for He always has our best interest at heart.
Speaking of our hearts, such fear encourages us to have an undivided one, one that is not prone to following in the footsteps of others, one that is devoid of selfish ambitions.
“Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” (Ps 86:11 NIV)
“Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands.” (Ps 112:1 NIV)
The fear of the Lord is a choice that no matter what, Jesus is at the center of our lives, the centre of every decision we make. As humans however, we tend to want to graze on both sides of the fence. Unfortunately, this usually leads to disaster.
I can remember the time I had my second car (The first one had literally fallen apart after 6 months of use, a real “lemon”. Scary don’t you think?) At first I was very careful to follow all of the road signs. I wanted to be a model driver. However there was one shortcut that many of my fellow seminarians boasted about, a shortcut from the main road that could save a whole two minutes of driving!
Two minutes! Wow! That was tempting!
There was just one problem with this shortcut. As we were at the foot of a mountain, it involved a steep, sharp curve. My fellow students boasted about it, because they claimed it was so much fun.
Intrigued, I started to think, why not try it for once? What could it hurt? If other seminarians can do it, why can’t I?
Believe me, this kind of reasoning is extremely dangerous, as it leads directly onto the treacherous grounds of our enemy the devil.
That sunny day I had two other fellow seminarians with me in the car, and they were both encouraging me to take the “forbidden” cut-off. Believe me, I didn’t need much encouragement. But as we arrived at the infamous sharp curve, doubt flooded my mind. What if… Before I could finish my thought, the left side of my car scarped up against the nearby wall for several seconds. It sounded like long nails dragging themselves over a blackboard, and those few seconds seemed like an eternity to me. In fact, I can still hear that nasty noise in my mind.
Naturally, when we stepped out of my car, I was greeted by a revised, much uglier model of my vehicle. At least I would no long have trouble identifying which car was mine!
I learned an important lesson that day. As long as I sit on the fence by trying to please my own will and God’s at the same time, fear will reign in my heart. It may not make its presence constantly known, but it will be there! However if my heart stays undivided and I put all of my trust in the Lord instead of my own ego, the Fear of the Lord will bless me with inner peace.
“I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace.” (John 16:33 The Message)
Fear really = lack of control = lack of trust
While faith = inner peace = hooked on God = real fear in the Lord
God loves each one of us. Why not return His love with gratitude and trust? Inner peace amidst turbulent circumstances is truly a blessing from the Lord!
“Do you see that shortcut? Why don’t you take it?”
(To access the entire “Fear Factor Considerations” devotional series, please click here.“