I Fear God

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Proverbs 9:10, NIV

I spent my early life looking for answers. I wanted to believe anything that made sense. Fortunately, God found me, and I now seek to know and share this God more and more.

If you believe in Calvinistic election, you would call it my election showing itself. If you believe in God calling certain people to service (for example, Jeremiah), you would call it my calling beginning to manifest. If you believe in the prodding of the Holy Spirit, you would call it the Holy Spirit acting on me in my youth. There are many ways it can potentially be described. No matter what, as I said, God found me.

At the age of 16 I began this journey with God. I was taught to think critically, to know what I believe. This included that “fear the Lord your God” meant a combination of respect with some actual fear since He has the power to do whatever He wants (not in the tyrannical way it might sound, because God demonstrates so much grace and love to be that kind of King). It is not actually healthy to live afraid of God. That kind of fear hinders our commitment and actions.

Think about like mountain climbing. The extreme kind with cliffs and ropes and dangling from stupid heights. Any experienced climber will tell you that if you are terrified of heights or ever stop fearing the drop – basically saying if you stop worrying that you might fall to your death – you need to leave. Too much fear or no fear leaves you more open to lethal mistakes.

Likewise, if we are afraid of God we will not want to follow Him either at all or as we should. If we have no fear of God, we are apt to think of ourselves more highly than we should.

Now for my confession:

Sometimes, God scares me.

The fear that He will condemn me to hell? Well, sometimes, but I have found assurance in His Word that I am saved.

The fear that God may not exist? Not anymore. I have seen, heard, and experienced too much for that possibility.

No, God scares me when I look at the possibility of ministry, when I look at my marriage, when I look at my relationships, when I study for school.

In reverse order, I get scared that God has called me to study His Word and His Church and His world … and I will misunderstand, fail to comprehend, and, most importantly, fail to teach it. I get scared that God has given me friends and family … and I will hurt them, fail them, and disappoint them. I get scared that God has given me a wife … and I will neglect her, hurt her, or disappoint God in my devotion to her or Him. I get scared that God has called me to share His message … and I will mess it up, misrepresent Him, or just plain fail.

I mean on a daily basis. I get scared.

I get scared God could call me to leave everything behind. I get scared God could tell me I have it all wrong. I get scared God could call me to something difficult … which, really, life with God has a tendency to be difficult.

Who wants to love the unloveable? Who wants to forgive the unforgiveable? Who wants to think of others first? Who wants to deny themselves of their wants and desires?

However, it helps me understand a little better “deny [yourself] and take up [your] cross daily and follow me” and that saying “die daily to yourself”. It helps me understand a little better “What is impossible with man is possible with God” and “I can do everything through [Christ] who gives me strength.”

Fear can push us to love and trust and respect, or fear can push us run or hide or sit still. Sometimes I do the former, others I do the latter.

Fortunately for me – and I would assume most people, nay, every person – God can redeem and work through my failings. I pray He continues to let me help mess it up … I mean help Him!

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    • Mark
    • April 26th, 2011

    Great Post. Dr. Michael Brown has a great small book called Compassionate Father or All Consuming Fire. I recommend his books, as with everything thier are items I agree and disagree with. I had the privilege of attending a summer symposium with Dr. Brown in Long Island, New York. His point in the book is that we cannot create some sort of false dichotomy between the God of the Tenak and the god of the New Testament in terms of how god deals with His people. Let us never get complacent in our faith or attitudes, because we believe God is a little kinder than he once was. I believe in compassion and mercy, but without holiness it becones anarchy.

    • I started reading that book once, but for some reason or reasons I never got very far and eventually lost track of the book or something. I have several theories based on my own reason, prayer, and what other people have said that show God has not changed from the OT to the NT and up to now. I just listened to David Jeremiah on the radio, and he made the assertion “we need mercy, but we demand justice. If we were given justice first, we would be doomed. Without His mercy we have no hope. But God is a God of mercy and love but also of justice. He forgives our sin, but He still punishes sin and allows our actions’ consequences to play out in many circumstances.”

  1. Great post Daniel!

    I struggled with this a great deal in the past. I soon came to realize that while we are to fear the Lord, God does not give us a spirit of fear. On the surface this may seem contradictory…but when you realize that if God is before you who can be against you?- you understand that we must yield to the Holy Spirit and count everything else as loss.

    People talk about surrendering to Jesus Christ…but this is just a starting point. We have to eventually come to the point of total abandonment to Jesus Christ. When this happens we truly experience the “mountain top view” of God’s plans for our lives.

    Romans 8:28-31

    “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

    In Jesus Christ,

    Mark
    3-foldcord

  1. April 28th, 2011
  2. January 10th, 2012

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