“I have never known more than fifteen minutes of anxiety or fear. Whenever I feel fearful emotions overtaking me, I just close my eyes and thank God that He is still on the throne reigning over everything, and I take comfort in His control over all the affairs of my life.”- John Wesley.
The benefits of a life without fear hardly have to be stated. Most people would agree that the benefits of living in peace would be incalculable. But fear is a constant obstacle to living in peace. But rather than looking for suggestions and solutions to overcoming your fear and anxiety, what if you replaced your fear with fear. Yes, it sounds contradictory. But is it?
There are several types of fears: fear that builds you up and a fear that tears you down, a fear to gain and a fear to lose. The fear that you want to gain is what the Bible calls “the fear of the Lord.” (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7, and 14:27; Job 28:28; Deuteronomy 10:12; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Peter 2:17 (all ESV)) The fear that you want to lose is the fear of anything and anyone else.
You could probably make a list of fears you would like to lose: fear of failure, fear of change, or fear of the future? Growing in the fear of God gives you the strength and wisdom to face your other fears. Our current sermon series is New You For A New Decade. Starting a new year and a new decade can strike fear in our hearts because we don’t know what the new year holds, let alone the next ten years. Yes, it is great to plan and even set goals, but the reality is we don’t know for sure what tomorrow will bring. The fear of the new, however, should not replace the fear of the Lord. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 1:7 that “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge…”
To fear the Lord is to approach Him with a reverent attitude of worship that regards Him as omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (all-present). Everything we see declares the existence of the unseen God. All that we know reveals the reality of the unknown. Creation reveals a God of wonder and boundless creativity. If no one ever told us there was a Creator, nature would demonstrate His existence. Our God alone is supreme. He is the Lord thy God, the alone and the above all. How often do we stop and reflect on how much bigger God is than our circumstances and our fears? In short, to fear the Lord sets Him in His rightful place in our lives as not only being greater but our source of hope, adoration, and wisdom. What then should we fear?
Again, I don’t know what 2020 holds, but regardless of what comes your way this year, remember to fear the Lord. There will always be fears to face, but the fear of the Lord will help you face and overcome yours by focusing on the one who is greater than anything you could face in this life.
- What do you fear and how does it affect the way you live?
- How would a renewed fear (awe, reverence) of the Lord encourage you to face your fears? And walk in a manner worthy of the gospel?