The Fear of God

“I want neither a terrorist spirituality that keeps me in a perpetual state of fright about being in right relationship with my heavenly Father nor a sappy spirituality that portrays God as such a benign teddy bear that there is no aberrant behavior or desire of mine that he will not condone. I want a relationship with the Abba of Jesus, who is infinitely compassionate with my brokenness and at the same time an awesome, incomprehensible, and unwieldy Mystery” (Brennan Manning).

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10, NIV)

The fear of God was the topic of tonight’s sermon from Kairos. I don’t mean fear as in uncontrollable terror, but more as a reverential awe. A healthy fear of God means that I can’t stay comfortable in my own sin, but this God who loves me as I am won’t leave me that way, but does all that is in His power to make me just like Jesus.

This God of the Bible isn’t a daft old grandfatherly type who will wink at your misdeeds and sins. This is the God who is completely Other, whom we could never hope to know if He hadn’t chosen to reveal Himself to us.

My favorite illustration of the fear of God comes from John Piper. He said it’s like witnessing a mighty thunderstorm from the safety of a shelter. You see the majesty and power of the storm but are protected from the danger of it.

This God of love is also a God of holiness. Jesus Himself said that God’s standard is perfection, yet Jesus also met that standard on our behalf. He said not to fear those who can kill the body only, but to fear Him who can kill the body and the soul, namely God.

I’m thankful God poured the wrath that my own sins deserved on Jesus. I hope I never take for granted that my sins always are costly and always bring death in some form. I hope I never lose sight of the wonder and awe and mystery of God who has made Himself known in the person of Jesus.

 

Safe in the Storm

I’m sitting here typing contentedly away on my laptop and listening to the rain lash against the window of my bedroom. I hear the thunder rumbling in the distance. I love it.

I don’t love storms when I’m driving in the middle of them and can barely see the road through my windshield. But when I finally make it home, I can breathe a huge sigh of relief.

I think it was John Piper who describe the fear of God kind of like being in a storm from a safe place. You’re able to witness the power and majesty of the storm while protected from the dangers of it.

I think we forget that God is all-powerful and all-present sometimes. We focus on the loving aspect and forget sometimes that He is also a holy God. Well, I do, anyway.

It is a good feeling to know that this God who could destroy me with one word from His mouth calls me His child. He has promised that He won’t leave or forsake me and that He will finish what He started in me.

He’s promised to bring me safely through those storms that come into my life. Not only that, but I will come out stronger on the other side.

I am learning what it means to fear God. I am learning that if you fear God, you need fear nothing else, for if God is for you, who could ever be against you? This fear of God isn’t a trembling terror, but more of a reverential awe of a God who is bigger than all that is and has existed before anything was. This same God who knows my name and the number of hairs on my head.

I pray you find that fear of the Lord that leads to wisdom. I pray you know that God is holy, but that He loves you more than you can possibly imagine. By the way, the storm has passed, as all storms do. But God remains.