Read: “For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.” Psalm 96:4 (NIV)
Reflect: I have feared a lot of things in my life. Often, it’s fear that drives our behavior. We fear missing out on something, so we try to juggle an insane schedule to fit it all in. We fear being single, so we date people we otherwise wouldn’t. We fear living with no money, so we work our fingers to the bone or tightly hold on to what we have. Or we fear what the world could do to our kids, so we try to bubble wrap them to keep them safe.
The fear of the Lord, however, may not register on many of our ‘top ten” fear lists. At first glance, it seems like fearing an angry, judgmental God doesn’t fit with our view of a loving, merciful protector. I know I ignored the whole idea of “fearing the Lord” for a long time.
The Bible refers to “fearing God” 300 times, so ignoring it probably isn’t wise. As we dig into those verses, we learn that we don’t fear God because of his anger and judgement, but because it shows that we place him, his will, and his plan for us ahead of our own. It’s submitting to his authority over our lives. So I try to live with this in mind. Rather than fearing others’ opinions of me, I place God’s opinion of me first. Rather than fearing poverty or not being comfortable, I try and see money as a resource God has given me. And so on. I replace my fears by acknowledging God’s position in my life.
Living this way actually leads to freedom. Rather than feeling imprisoned by the countless fears that could trap me, I am liberated to live for an opinion and audience of one. The one who loves me, has great plans for me and showers me with unending grace.
React: What fears dominate your thought life? How do you change the way you live? How can fearing the Lord lead to freedom for you?
Pray: Lord, help us see you as one we value above all else. Help us view you in your rightful position and live that out each day. Amen