I was parallelized by fear. I had been praying in a field, weeping profuse apologies to a God I thought was too just to listen to my prayers. Then in an instant I felt the mighty presence of the Lord, and he told me to be quiet. I actually stopped thinking thoughts because I was afraid that thinking would violate God's order to be quiet. In the silence that followed, I began to listen.
After about an hour of silent fear, someone else spoke to me. They mentioned a story I'd heard before about unconditional love, and in a single moment my fear evaporated. I comprehended something greater than my inadequacy: the vast and immeasurable love of the God that died to forgive me. Fear left me. My life has never been the same.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” - Proverbs 1:7
Since I first met the Lord I've been surprised to hear Christians speak affectionately of the fear of the Lord. While fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, it is just that, a beginning. Fear of the Lord made me crave reconciliation with God, and I was not disappointed. God reconciled himself to me in Christ Jesus. Since that day fear has held no place in my relationship with God. I have had bouts of fear to be sure, but no more than I have had bouts of sin or doubt. The fact is that I am now God's son, and if he redeemed me when I was corrupt, he will do more now that I am redeemed (Romans 5:8-9).
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The fear of the Lord was the beginning of my journey with him, but as I've gotten to know God my fear has sharply receded. Fear is, after all a lousy basis for any relationship. When a leader is feared we call them a tyrant; fear of a spouse is a sign of abuse, and so too is fear of a parent. God is not a tyrant and God is not abuse; God is love (1 John 4:8). John says perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
Do you fear the Lord? If you do, then I have some great news. You don't have to be afraid any more. You must have faith in order to fear the Lord. Take that faith a step further and lay your fear down. Once God's people had reason to fear him, and were commanded to fear him (Psalm 34:8-9) But I do not believe that fear must be part of our redeemed relationship with God. Jesus called his disciples friends (John 15:15). I'm not afraid of my friends, and I'm not afraid of my God. God loves me, and there's no fear in love.