If you are a believer in The Way, then this is for you.
I’ve been hearing a lot of fearful talk lately among Christians. Fearful of our times; fearful of the horrific events happening all around the world to people just like you and me. Fearful of the future (especially here in the United States) and of the outcome of our Presidential election. Afraid of what will happen if Trump and his ungoverned mouth take office, or what will happen if Clinton and her shady dealings take power. Most people are expressing a sentiment of feeling stuck in a game that nobody asked to play. And as Christians, we are being watched by the world -watched, ridiculed, scrutinized- because we are held to a higher and stricter standard. Even those whose hearts are not open to the Lord will look at us and expect something more. We look at each other and expect something better, something hopeful, but instead we often end up spreading more fear.
What do we do then? What is our response? I don’t intend to breakdown the essence of fear as a spiritual weapon- there are many great articles written about that. We know the feeling of dread, the defensive fight of our flesh (our mind and body) to want control and preservation of self. This is not a spiritual fight worth waging. This kind of fear must die. And now, to see the way ahead, we go to the scriptures.
Jesus, when sending his disciples and friends out in to the world, gives them some last-minute instruction.
Speaking about those in authority (as well as regular folk) who would persecute the disciples, Jesus says-
“Therefore, don’t be afraid of them, since there is nothing covered that won’t be uncovered and nothing hidden that won’t be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the light. What you hear in a whisper, proclaim on the housetops. Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear HIM who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So don’t be afraid therefore; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matt. 10:26-31 HCSB)
Isn’t there something inside of you that longs for the things hidden in the dark to be brought to light? For the wrongdoings of evil people to be brought to justice and for the rampant lies to be exposed? And every now and then, doesn’t your heart fill up with so much hope and expectation for Jesus’ return that you feel like you could burst? And the moments when your faith is strengthened into steel because of a timely word from a friend, a miraculous turn of events, a particular scripture that comes to life, or a dream that brings revelation…are these not worth more than your comfort? Would you trade the great adventure for a security blanket?
Then this is what Jesus says about our fearful and earthly mindset, crying out for a carnal sense of security-
“Don’t be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.” (Matt. 10:28 Message)
We are to fear the Lord only! He is the one who commands my full attention, who garners my full respect and honor, who demands a heart bent toward Him in order to receive of His love and to do His good work. He alone holds our spirit in His hands. He deserves every area of our lives surrendered to Him, because He is the one who made us. If there is anything in me that desires peace, that longs to see healing in my community and the world, that wants blessing for my life- I must learn what it means to fear the Lord.
My prayer for today (and please, if your heart is hungry, pray it too!)-
Heavenly Father, you are the Beginning and the End. Nothing escapes your gaze. Search my heart and shine your light on any area not surrendered to you. Teach me what it means to walk in the righteous fear of the Lord. Thank you for your unending love for me. Thank you for your faithfulness towards mankind. Thank you for Jesus and his mighty work throughout the ages. In Jesus’ powerful name, Amen.
A few scriptures to begin your search for the treasure of fearing God:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
For by Wisdom your days will be many,
and years will be added to your life. (Prov. 9:10-11 HCSB)
The Angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear Him, and rescues them. (Psalm 34:7 HCSB)
The Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love. (Psalm 147:11 NIV)
[The Lord’s] mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation. (Luke 1:50 NIV)