The year of fear sounds kind of terrifying right? Why would I want to focus on fear for a whole year? We are supposed to run away from or fight the things that scare us. Fight or flight. One of those is usually our response. I'm going to shield my face from clowns, I'm going to stay away from tall heights that I have a chance of falling off of, I'm probably not going to chose to speak in front of large crowds, and spiders and cockroaches will continue to meet their inevitable fates when a Chaco is thrown at them from across the room. I also fear going blind, financial instability, loneliness. Fears can be big or small and they can paralyze us from doing anything. The things we fear can hold us back, make us stay under the covers, locked up. But, this isn't the kind of fear I'm talking about, friends. I'm talking about a holy and reverent fear in a Most Holy God. A fear that, if embraced, will ultimately lead us into freedom.
I long to live in freedom, free from the fear of things holding me back. I long to know my Savior more, to be more aligned with His will, and to praise Him more. I long to understand more about Him, His attributes, His teachings, so that I can live to be more like Him. This all starts with fearing Him. Not in the sense of being scared, but of revering Him, standing in awe of Him and all that He is.
Fear, in the biblical sense, is to know Him, and to know Him is to fear Him. Healthy fear enables us to praise God and enjoy His benefits and blessings, rest in His peace and security, and experience the length of days. Fear of God, as a believer, produces awe, reverence, and obedience.
Praising God, enjoying blessings, resting in His peace all seem like wonderful things to seek out this year. But, there is another side of this holy fear. To know and understand all that this fear brings, gives a sense of urgency to sharing the Gospel. I may fear God in a holy sense, in wanting to experience all the goodness and blessings, but someone who doesn't know God in an intimate relationship will fear Him in an entirely different light. Not a holy fear, but one of being afraid. It is hard for me to imagine my life without God. Without His blessings, His providence, His protection. It is hard for me to imagine my life without the beauty of the Cross and the teachings of Jesus. It is hard for me to imagine my life without the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Him ushering me throughout life. The greatest things that we desire in this world, the answers to the questions we ask again and again, the goodness we want in our life, they are all found in God. He is our greatest satisfaction, He is the greatest answer, and He is the only good. To fear Him is to know Him, and to know Him is to fear Him. As a believer and follower, I want to know Him more. I want to experience His goodness in a way that I've never felt before. As a believer and follower, I want others to know Him more. I want others to experience His goodness in a way they've never felt before. I want to fear Him, to know Him deeply and intimately as He desires for us to know Him. The blessings, benefits, peace, and rest? Those are just extra drippings from His goodness that He pours out on us when we come to know Him.
This year, in 2016, I'm going to be centering my year around 13 verses that speak on the fear of God. These verses tell us what fear brings, how to fear God, and what fear in God frees us from. I've adopted one verse for each month to memorize and focus on and have one verse that is my verse of the year. I've already been noticing the word fear popping up in different places and in things that I'm reading. As my verse for the year tells us, "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..." This is where it all starts. Knowing Him is where it all begins and where all things come from. It leads to good understanding, it leads to wisdom, it leads to praising Him in new ways. Fearing Him leads me into freedom. This freedom pulls me out from under my covers and puts me into His arms. Last year I focused on making the year a better one. This year I want to focus on The Better One.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have good understanding. His praise endures forever."
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