In difficult times, believe Him anyway…

How do I wrap up a series on the fear of the Lord?

I’ve wondered that, but have struggled to come to any clear conclusion.

“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end–it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.” Habakkuk 2:3 and 3:17-19

Recently, I’ve been reminded over and over that He is working, that He is coming, and that those who persevere through these days and cling to Him will be received into the Kingdom. Perhaps one of the most powerful blessings that comes from fearing the Lord is the close fellowship it brings and the assurance that no matter what things look like today, He will fulfill all that He has promised and that for those who love God all things work together for good (Romans 8:28).

Oh, for grace to love Him more!

When we don’t fear God…

Although most Christians wouldn’t have much trouble verbally and mentally assenting to the concept of fearing the Lord, many of us face serious trials when we attempt to live this principle out.

What prevents us from a right view of our Lord?
Certainly there are so many possibilities. Here are a few big ones:

  • Doubting/Unbelief
  • Fear of man
  • Ingratitude
  • Pride/Arrogance
  • Rebellion
  • Selfish ambition
  • Unresolved sin
  • Worry about the future

When we habitually live with any of the above woven into our approach to life, this makes it increasingly difficult to fear the Lord as we ought.  These things that we carry around repel us from a right understanding of who God is and how we are to relate to Him.  In our faith journey, it is often described as “hitting a wall,” “getting in a rut,” or “feeling stuck.”

When we don’t fear God, we can leave ourselves vulnerable to further avenues for sin and greater distance from God.

What defense do we have when these times come?

For one thing, we may need to do the things that we know we should, even if we don’t feel like they are helping.

  • Being an active part of your church, praying, reading scripture, worshiping, and taking up our daily responsibilities
  • Seek accountability with a mature believer you can trust
  • Serve others

It is important to try to identify the root of the problem.

Begin with what you see outwardly that you recognize doesn’t square with scripture.  For example, perhaps you observe recurring patterns of : 1) anxiety about finding a job, 2) attempts to ‘help’ God, and 3) losing sight of the good He is doing and has done.  As you pray and think about these symptoms, maybe you find that the deeper issue is a struggle with trusting in God’s provision. The person who lacks confidence in God will be likely to fear people and circumstances more than God.

Equipped with this knowledge, now you are in a better position to fight back with scripture about God as provider and giving your anxiety to Him. This will help you think what is true instead of what is false. You can study passages in scripture that demonstrate God’s willingness and ability to take care of those who fear Him. You can talk to your accountability partner about suggestions he or she might have to combat your lack of trust in God. You can also prayerfully ask God to grant you opportunities to change your behavior.

Fear of the Lord

In this post, I want to address some of the major definitions and effects of the fear of the Lord.

First, I’ll take a moment to explain why I would think this is post-worthy. The more I dig deeper into the Word and consider what deters us from being all that we are made to be in Christ, the more I recognize that it often boils down to lies we believe. These insidious lies can be with us for so much of our lives that we don’t even realize they are there and as we try to grow, we might be struggling to fix some of the outward problems unsuccessfully because we haven’t resolved the root of our sin. I believe one of those fundamental places we can be hung up is understanding and applying the concept of the fear of the Lord.

So, what is the fear of the Lord?

Fear of the Lord is often defined as ‘respect,’ ‘reverence,’ or ‘awe’ which points us to an attitude of worship. One who fears the Lord in this manner rightly understands the relationship between God and man and this requires humility and a keen awareness that God’s thoughts and ways are above our understanding. This individual learns obedience by submitting to God’s discipline (sometimes in the form of training or instruction, not just ‘punishment’) and discovers the wisdom that accompanies faith in God, despite what we might see with our eyes that seems to contradict His truth, His character, and His promises. Believers who grow in their fear of the Lord likewise find themselves loving Him more and experience His peace and protection as they practice being still and quiet before Him.

1 Samuel 12:24: “But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.”

Psalm 34:7:“The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”

Proverbs 2:11: “Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”

Proverbs 15:33: “The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.”

Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”

Isaiah 33:6: “He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.”

Wisdom at the Movies display

I’m interrupting my series on family to highlight the ‘Wisdom at the Movies’ display we have at the library.

One of the technical services staff members has pulled together a wide variety of excellent films that portray aspects of wisdom.

Here is an excerpt from Everett’s reflections on wisdom: “Wisdom, the skillful application of knowledge and insight to daily life, begins with the fear of the Lord. We begin by recognizing our life as a gift that is dependent on the mercy and grace of God. By trusting in the Lord and acknowledging Him in all our ways we are able to recognize the meaning in the order and patterns in the world he has given us and then to apply that knowledge as we seek our way in that world.”

The following list represents a sampling of some of the films on our display. Feel free to come and check them out!

Amazing Grace– political wisdom in the service of right

Becket– live faithfully the calling you’ve received

Chariots of Fire– live for the glory of God

Death of a Salesman– life can be wasted

Empire Strikes Back– the power of a wise mentor

Giant– gain the world, lose your soul

Jesus of Montreal– the wisdom of an outsider

Matrix– wisdom as revelation

Power of One– wise mentor and the wisdom of perseverance

Shawshank Redemption– wisdom of hope

Stranger Than Fiction– wisdom from mortality

Tootsie– wisdom through changed circumstances