Fear, Good or Bad?

Let’s think today about something we probably try to avoid thinking about: fear. We try to avoid thinking about it because of the other words we associate with it: scared, frightened, trembling, cowardly, etc. These words to be sure are emotional ones. They invoke feelings that we try to avoid. However, there is another important word that comes up, and it helps us understand exactly what fear is to us. That word is power.

What do I mean by that? What does power have to do with fear? Well, with the exception of things that we fear because they disgust us (mice, spiders, crickets, etc.), all fear comes because we believe that something has the power to affect us. We fear the IRS because it can garnish our wages. We fear the dentist because she can drill into our jaw. We fear diseases because they can cause pain or even death. We fear because we believe something in our life has power. The power may be limited, but we believe it still exists to affect us.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

The Bible encourages to fear God. Why? Why would God want us to both love Him and fear Him? After thinking about what fear is, it is easier to understand it. If fear at its core is a statement about the power something or someone has to affect our lives, then it makes perfect sense that we should fear God. He is the ultimate change agent in the universe. Above the creepy crawlies that we fear, God is greater. Above any problems that we fear, God is greater. Above any people or group of people that we fear, God is greater. Above any spiritual force in the universe we may face, God is greater.

Think with me about what that does in a person who lets it sink in. I have two types of people in mind: the faithful follower of Jesus and the God resistant person. How does a healthy fear of God affect each of them?

The faithful follower learns from a healthy fear of God…

1. God is bigger than my problems

2. When God makes promises, He keeps them.

3. When I am tempted to compromise my moral compass, God’s power and assurance let me know I don’t have to.

4. When I feel alone, God’s promise lets e know my feelings are not to be trusted.

5. God’s power and love lets me face every obstacle, even the impossible ones!

The God resistant person learns from a healthy fear of God…

1. I am not in control as often as I pretend to be. God is.

2. I can’t run from God.

3. If I oppose God, I will not ultimately win.

4. I, a mere human, think I can overcome or defeat the Almighty. What hubris!

5. If He is this profoundly unstoppable when I am resisting Him, how much more amazing will He be if I were to follow Him?

We see, for the faithful follower, the fear of God produces trust, comfort, and encouragement. It doesn’t make us scared. The fear of the Lord makes us supremely confident. It is a confidence that does not need our defense or defensiveness. It is a quiet and profound strength. It is strength in God.

For the resistant person, the fear of God is a constant call to stop resisting and start trusting. His power and unstoppable nature call us to lay down our resistance and come over to His side. We studied the woman of faith, Rahab, on Sunday. That is her story. She tells the spies that all of Jericho was melting at the thought of facing the God of Israel. Her response? The God of Israel is the God of Heaven and Earth. She chose to no longer resist.

What about you and me? Do we face each day with that type of confidence because we know that God is on our side? Do we really fear God as the Bible speaks or is there room to grow? Is He the unstoppable force of our life? Is He the greatest power of our lives or just one of many? Oh the change that happens when we understand His power rightly!

Something to think about,

Pastor John

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