There exists a laundry list of fears and phobias. The fear of the heights, fear of the dark, fear of enclosed spaces, fear of snakes, fear of spiders, fear of germs, fear of thunder and lightening, fear of the number thirteen…I can’t make this stuff up people! The point is there are fears that are good and right and preserve life and those which are irrational and become paralyzing, bringing death. If I am in a room with a venomous snake (God help me!) it is right that I want to get away from it so as not to get bit. That preserves life.
Sadly, I would wager that most of the fear we are consumed with is not that which may end our physical lives, but that which undoubtedly hinders our spiritual lives. Fear of not being perfect, fear of failure, fear of others seeing that we are not perfect, fear of loss, fear of change, fear of not being liked, fear of rejection, fear of missing out…these fears do not bear fruit, but rather, bring death because we are fearing the wrong thing.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:10
The wisdom of God, his revealed character and divine plan bring forth life. We are to have a holy and reverent view of who God is… in all His glory, perfection, and love. This gives us the right mirror to see our true reflection: small, sinful, insignificant, and in need of a great God. Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature, the life giving sacrifice for all who believe. Understanding this is inextricably linked to having a healthy fear of God and thus the fruit that comes is life abundant on earth and life eternal in heaven.
Have you ever looked at the night sky…the sky completely dark, lit up by millions of blazing stars? Note: You may have to actually leave the city limits to see what I am talking about. Or better yet, go to Colorado! Have you seen the Milky Way? Have you felt your stomach turn? That feeling of awe and wonder and smallness is something to behold and to press into. That’s what I think of when I envision my place before God-extremely small, yet significant because I have been adopted into God’s family through Christ. I know that I am counted among those twinkling lights as God’s ancient promise to Abraham declared that his descendants would outnumber the stars (Genesis 15:5). I am small, yet perfectly loved and THAT my friend, casts out any wrong placed fear (1 John 4:18).
What we fear is ultimately, what we surrender to… our thoughts, our time, our energy. Let us not surrender to what is worthless: the opinion of others, the approval of others, the ways of the world. Rather, let us continually wave the white flag of repentance and fear God alone. Let us surrender to the grace He offers and rest in his love. May our thoughts, our time, and energy be consumed with the things of God. Let us be filled with hope that only God can bring! Let us embrace our smallness in light of the grandness of God. And for goodness sake, let us fear the right thing together.
Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands. - Psalm 112:1
But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children-- Psalm 103:7
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? - Psalm 56:3-4