Part 2… (read Part 1 here)
Immersed in the water, it was pitch black. The earplugs blocked all sound and I could hear only my beating heart. The salt water dripped into my eyes as I scratched my face. It burned uncontrollably and I reached for the fresh cloth. But, in the midst of the darkness, it seemed to disappear. Feeling around for the light switch, my heart rate began to rise: ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom. It was the only sound I could hear. “Christi, why are you so fearful? Can even a dark room provoke fear in you?” I asked myself. I found the light switch, turned it on, found the cloth, and dabbed my face. I took a deep breath, switched the light off, lay back in the tank, and once again closed my eyes. I asked the Lord to speak to me and to help me in this fear I was experiencing. He used my weakness that day to teach me about fear- Holy Fear…
I knew scripture told me to “fear not” and I knew scripture told me to “fear God.” The term “fear not” is recorded 365 times in scripture. The term “fear God” (or the like) is recorded 490 times. God has much to say on the concept! But what I had never understood was the correlation between the two.
Why have we, as a society, chosen to make a home with our earthly core fears rather than allowing the Fear of the Lord to take its rightful place in our hearts and lives? We were created with a strand of “holy fear” woven into us. When the Creator of the universe knitted me together in my mother’s womb, He purposefully used a fear strand so that I was able to know and experience the goodness that the Lord brings!
Proverbs 9:10 (and numerous other places) states that the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. When scripture mentions the Fear of the Lord it is not the same type of fear that you and I are accustomed to. It is always spoken of as a benefit and gift to us. Father God does not desire us to have a panic attack in His presence! Nor does He desire us to be fearful the way you and I understand and define fear. However, when we are in His presence, there is an unmistakable reverence, respect, awe and amazement that comes over us because of His Greatness and Grandeur. We begin to see and understand the trust we can have in our Lord because of Who He is. This is the type of fear we were created to have! And it begins with jumping off the cliff of self-preservation and surrendering to the One who holds you safely in His arms. It begins with trust.
When I turn my focus to my core fears, I become me-centered.
This has 3 major results:
- It dictates my identity, worth, and purpose. The more I gaze upon these fears, the greater they become.
- I develop a false sense of humility, thinking constantly of myself (even if it IS negative thoughts) instead of a true humility that considers others because I am secure within myself.
- I flail around emotionally, looking for a rescuer. All the while He is right there waiting to rescue, if I will de-throne myself, and enthrone Him.
Satan is well-versed in scripture and quoted it to Jesus while He was in the desert for 40 days. He knows what will occur when our healthy, God-given fear is appropriately placed in Our Maker! “How can I cause them to flail? How can I (try to) ruin God’s plans?” Satan asks himself. “I must shift their focus! They cannot, for any reason, fear God! I must change their focus to themselves!” Thus, he has made it his goal to pervert fear- the very concept that originated in God. Fear was never meant to paralyze us, cause anxiety, and ultimately keep us from His purposes in life. Pure, Holy, God-given fear was meant to be a tool that draws us into our Creators’ Bosom, fulfilling His purposes for us, while invoking a Holy reverence of Him.
When I am walking in the fear of the Lord, I become God-centered.
This has 3 major results:
- It reveals my identity. I become confident in how I was created and who Christ is in me. I stop doubting myself and become an emotionally steady person.
- It teaches me of my worth. My core fears cannot hijack my thoughts because my heart is secure in what my Creator says about my value.
- I begin to confidently live out His purposes for me because my fear of man is put in its rightful place. It builds courage and ultimately builds my faith.
The Fear of the Lord- the strand of Fear He wove into us at the time of our creation, would cause us to shield our face from His awe-inspiring glory if we were in His physical presence. Yet we would feel completely loved, fully known, and deeply seen all at the same time. The Fear of the Lord shows me how capable my God is. It grows my trust and confidence in my Father. It encourages me to listen, have courage, and obey when He tells me to do something. It is a basic building block of faith and relationship with my Abba Father. It is the beginning of wisdom. The more deeply my heart is able to grasp the Fear of the Lord, the more I am able to walk into His plans and purposes for me. When I am able to look at the Father through eyes that revere Him, respect Him, and trust Him, I am able to walk in Freedom!
Scripture repeatedly reminds us to “fear not” and to “fear God.”
What are we to “fear not?” Our earthly core-fears. What are we to shift our focus to? The Greatness and Grandeur of our God: The fear of the Lord. If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and Satan knows this, it is in his best interest to make us the most foolish people possible, paralyzing us, so that we cannot walk in the wisdom of God and live out our God-given purposes.
When I recognize and acknowledge the greatness of my God it invokes the Fear of the Lord. When I fail to acknowledge the greatness of my God it invokes the core fears that are discussed in the Enneagram. When we stop long enough to examine our thoughts, our actions (or lack there-of), and our relationships, it is clear how Satan has taken the concept of fear and used it to his benefit.
It is time we take back what was given to us as a gift!
It is time we stand up and become the Godly warriors He created us to be. It is time we become bold men and women of God, not being ruled by our earthly core fears, but being ruled, directed, and motivated by the beautiful concept that the Fear of the Lord is. If we wish to bring His Kingdom to Earth, and to show others Jesus’ Love, we MUST stop walking in our own fears and start walking in the Fear of the Lord! As we seek His presence and know Him more intimately, the Fear of the Lord will grow within us. Consequently, our core fears will begin to heal and have less power. As He becomes greater in my life, I will become healthier and what He designed for me to be from the very beginning. This shift is the exact thing that will give us the courage to be warriors for Him!
Where does Satan attack you most? Is it rooted in fear? I’ll bet it is! Choose today to take back what is yours: choose to Fear the Lord instead of fearing the things and people of this world. He desires for you to walk in His Wisdom. Fearing Him is the beginning.
So, with confidence and hope in this message, strengthen those with feeble hands, shore up the weak-kneed and weary. Tell those who worry, the anxious and fearful, “Take Strength; have courage! There’s nothing to fear. Look, here- your God! Right here is your God!” Isaiah 35:3-4 (The Voice)
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10