This is a frequent topic in many Christian circles, and one we’ve covered not long ago. In fact, in my Yahoo Bible Study group, the question of what it means to fear the LORD led to quite a discussion. A discussion that evoked enough questions that reminded me of how important the answer is to our Christian walk. You see, how we view God often radically impacts how we relate to Him. We all have gut ideas of who God is, but the question we must continually ask: How close do our impressions mirror reality? Today, debut author and Christ to the World writer Tanya Eavenson invites us to dig a bit deeper, laying aside our preconceived ideas so we can receive God in His fullness.
Today’s Reading: Proverbs 15
This week’s memory verse: Proverbs 15:15 For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.
Today’s focal verse: Proverbs 15:33 The Fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom….
Should We Fear God by Tanya Eavenson
I don’t care much for the word “Fear.” The Webster Dictionary defines it as “to be afraid of.”
Personally, I avoid anything causes me to be afraid. For instance, you’ll never find me sky diving because I fear falling —and I don’t like heights so that would definitely be a problem.
So why would Solomon use the word “Fear?” Why does he tell us “To fear God?” Not a great way to make people want a relationship with Him.
But wait. Webster also says to fear means “to have reverential awe of.”
In the first 6 verses of Proverbs, Solomon says his reason for writing the book is for you to know God. Chapter 1, verse 7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Solomon wanted us to have the same knowledge and wisdom he himself grasped. How did he get it? The same way we can today—by building a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Jesus once asked his disciples, “Who do you say I am?” What about you—who do you say he is? Does God seem like someone who hovers somewhere in space waiting for you to sin so he can condemn you? Maybe you think of God, but He’s not as important as your family because you can’t see Him? Maybe you have faith in God but you can’t remember the last time you picked up your Bible outside of church. Let’s look at what God says about his relationship with us.
Jeremiah 33 says, “This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: 3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
Solomon is saying to know God, is to know WHO He is, the Maker of the heavens and earth. The One who formed the earth, formed you and loves you with such passion and intensity, He sent His son, Jesus to die in your place. God doesn’t want an acquaintance; He wants you. Your heart, mind and soul. Not to control you, but so you will have His heart for the lost, your mind to know His will for your life, and your soul so you can spend eternity with Him. He wants you. He wants to love you.
As Jeremiah says, call to Him. God WILL answer you. He’ll tell you great things, unsearchable things, a knowledge and wisdom that only comes from Him.
So how can you obtain this wisdom? By putting God in His rightful place in your life and calling upon Him. He alone will teach you wisdom.
Tanya Eavenson and her husband have been involved in ministry for fifteen years teaching youth and adults, and doing counseling. Tanya enjoys spending time with her husband, and their three children. Her favorite pastime is grabbing a cup of coffee and reading a good book. Tanya is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and writes for Christ to the World Ministries sharing the Gospel around the world.
Visit her online:
Google +: https://plus.google.com/111621198804346509165#111621198804346509165/posts
And check out her debut novel, a beautiful story of God’s unconditional, ever-reaching, ever-healing love:
Elizabeth Roberts can’t remember her past, and the present is too painful. She turns to nightclubs and drinking to forget her infant daughter’s death, her husband’s affair.
When his wife’s coma wiped out the memory of their marriage, Chris Roberts found comfort elsewhere. He can’t erase his betrayal, but with God’s help he’s determined to fight for Elizabeth at any cost.
She wants to forget. He wants to save his marriage. Can they trust God with their future and find a love that’s unconditional?
Let’s talk about this:
How does your view of God affect your faith?
We all have a gut-knowledge of who we believe God to be. This gut knowledge is often based on numerous things–things we’ve heard, past experiences, interactions with imperfect humans. But God is real–a Person, and just like I can form all sorts of opinions and assumption about my spouse or friend or people I encounter, just because I believe something about them doesn’t make it so. To get to know who they really are, I need to *come to them.* Spend time with them. Listen to who they say they are.
I believe we all have false ideas of who God is that creep in when we are not aware. As I’ve said, these ideas often operate on a gut level, meaning, they are rooted in feelings or assumptions outside of Scripture. I’ll give an example. Prior to getting sick, I had a general lack of compassion for others who were sick. I saw sickness as weakness that could be overcome. (Sorry!) Then, I got sick, and despite my best efforts to “man-up,” I stayed sick. My hidden assumption based on a faulty gut-impression? God was punishing me for my lack of compassion previously. As you can imagine, this gut-impression, which was not based on what God has or is showing me in Scripture, affected my relationship with Him–began to hinder my prayer life, and instead of turning to Him on tough days, I began to shy away from Him. Instead of receiving His comfort, I assumed judgement and disappointment. Luckily God is ever-gracious, gentle, nurturing, and supportive, always drawing us to Himself and His truth as revealed in Scripture, and despite my faithlessness, He showed Himself loving and faithful. But I suspect we all have those gut-impressions–those thoughts that, as untrue as we know them to be, threaten to steal our peace, joy, and divine intimacy. Today I encourage you to spend some time in prayer, asking God to expose your false ideas of who He is, then inviting Him to replace them with truth.
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A good post.
I would suggest that it is right and just to view God by both definitions. Awed respect is certainly valid and certainly necessary.
In Mathew 10:28, Jesus tells his disciples, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
The fear he spoke of in regard to ‘those who can kill the body’ is the fear that means being afraid of. There’s no reason to think he didn’t mean the same thing in the second half of that phrase.
Nice post, Tanya!
I agree with Carrie. In many instances, fear means awe. I also believe a healthy fear of God is a good thing, especially when it comes to sin. God wants us not to sin because we love Him but sometimes the temptation is sooo great. The fear part might keep us away from the temptation until the love part is mature.
Great comments! It seems there is always a healthy balance, isn’t there? But even in that, the best balance comes from truly knowing who God is. 🙂
I agree, Tanya! One of the ladies in our Yahoo Bible study said something I found so insightful! Yes, God does discipline us, but when He does, it is never strictly for “punishment” sake. His goal is always, always to draw us to Himself, to grow us, to mold us. Just as we, when we discipline our children, do so in love. Which, in my mind, negates “fear” in the way we often interpret it, for perfect love casts out fear and it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. I can dislike consequences God gives or the way He molds me, but because I know His actions are always, always rooted in love, I can trust Him even in the pain. 😉 Now, if I am in total rebellion against God, wow, that’s a scary place, not only because I must then face the consequences for my sin–consequences Christ died to pay for, but also because I have rebelled against God’s love, guidance and protection.
Which makes me wonder if how we view God depends on whether we are with Him or against Him. Interesting question. 😉