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Discipleship with Fear

~By: Sylvia Reynolds-Blakely~

Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Psalm 34:11

This post is ALL about helping other believers understand when and why fear is a useful tool of the Lord and why a healthy fear of the Lord should be our goal. God has been pressing in on me to write this for a few days now since it was apparent the United States was the next country in the cross hairs of the novel coronavirus. I kept hearing, “The fear of the Lord is a healthy fear,” and “Fearing God is wisdom.” The song lyrics “be still and know that He is Lord of all” kept playing in my head.

God reminded me of this verse in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land.” What I had not memorized before was the preceding verse: “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour land, or if I send pestilence among my people.”

I believe our Heavenly Father (whose ways are not our ways, by the way), takes an opportunity every so often to humble us and remind us that He is Lord of all, and that we control nothing. A lack of humility on our part sets us up, from a heart stance, to lose our healthy fear of God. When we get too puffed up and choose to dwell in sin, He shows just who He is and what He is capable of. Make no mistake, the devil does not have domain over delivering pestilence. God is the One who metes out righteous justice using pestilence and plague to turn us from our sinful ways. All the devil can do is try to trick believers into thinking that to fear God is a sign of weak faith. That simply is an age-old lie that we have to first recognize and then rebuke.

Jesus had to remind Satan during His trying time in the wilderness of what was written in Deuteronomy 6:16: “Do not test the Lord your God.” In fact, to fear the Lord is LIFE! Proverbs 14:27 says, “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.” Proverbs 19:23 reiterates this by saying, “The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.”

Let’s go back to humility and its part in fear. Proverbs 22:4 starts out by essentially saying that humility exemplifies the fear of the Lord. Without a humble and contrite heart, God does not sit on the throne of your life; you do. This is not the proper positioning because it causes sin against the holiness of God (see Isaiah 14:12-15). God’s aim is to restore our holiness, which we fractured in the garden. Jeremiah 15:19 reminds us that, if we repent (humble ourselves), God will restore us so that we may serve Him.

Yes, faith in the shed blood of Jesus forgives our sins, and our faith in Jesus and how we live for Him restores our holiness, but this does not negate the fact that we have to, need to, and, most importantly, should WANT to fear the Lord. As Paul teaches Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:9: “He has saved us and called us to a holy life-not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.” Isaiah 33:6 says, “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.”

That good word, dear readers, is no less true today. Wouldn’t we all like to be standing on a firm foundation right now with all the shifting sand around us? Our foundation needs to be one that is constructed of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge, and not one of hubris and ignorance. Let's start by humbling ourselves and restoring our healthy fear of the Lord.

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