Mumbai Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) | FEAR OF THE LORD

FEAR OF THE LORD

FEAR OF THE LORD
1st September, 2016
Mr. Francis D'souza (Courtesy Charisindia Magazine) FEAR OF THE LORD
FEAR OF THE LORD
 
SMITH magazine invited readers to submit six-word memoirs that describe their lives. Thousands responded with brief biographies ranging from the light-hearted "SWEET WIFE, GOOD SONS-I’M RICH" to the painful "SIXTY. STILL HAVEN’T FORGIVEN MY PARENTS”.

Based on Scripture, the author tried to imagine how King Solomon might have summed up his life in six words.
As a young man, he could have written: GOD HAS GIVEN ME GREAT WISDOM. But in his later years, he might have said: SHOULD HAVE PRACTICED WHAT I PREACHED. He married foreign wives and to please them he allowed the worship of false gods, because of his over ambitious plans he started exploiting his people, he was drawn from the way of the Lord. This once-wise king who had it all, lost it all, and pondered it all, ended the book of Ecclesiastes with this final conclusion: FEAR GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS (Eccl 12:13a). Those are six words of King Solomon worth heeding.

The second part of the verse (Ecc 12:13b) however - FOR THIS IS THE WHOLE [DUTY] OF MAN spells out the paramount importance of the fear of the Lord.
 
A closer look at this subject would therefore be of much profit to us all.
 
At the outset I would like to quote from Fr R H Lesser’s book “The Holy Spirit and the Charismatic Renewal” (1978):
 
“Charismatics especially, owing to their familiarity with spiritual things, can easily, if not sufficiently mature and balanced, could slip into a kind of presumptuous casualness that can border on contempt. This gift will induce a healthy awe and is the best antidote to sluggishness, laziness or routine in the spiritual life. It can restore again the hunger and thirst for the spiritual life. It can shake us out of apathy, dryness and sterility. Without this healthy fear of the Lord one will remain mediocre.”    
 
This gift (which is one of the Messianic gifts – Isaiah 11:2) is sometimes misunderstood because of the word fear which is not always negative. It helps us avoid doing things which may prove harmful and dangerous to us. There are plenty of references in the Bible showing that it is positive and listed below are a few of them:
 
Psa 19:9 (10) “The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.”
 
Psa 111:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” (also refer Prov 9:10)
 
Prov 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
 
Prov 14:26 “He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.” 

The fear of the Lord is not something servile nor is it a dread of the Lord because of which a person serves Him simply because of the punishment that one will have to otherwise face. On the contrary it is a reverent trust. We stand in awe of God, His power, and His holiness. We believe His warnings, His commands, His promises. We hold His character in such high respect that we choose to hate evil, knowing that all His commands are for our good. In doing so we are really expressing our devotion to Him. No wonder we are advised to be in the fear of the Lord always (Pro 23:17 NASB updated edition). It is the one fear that overcomes all others. It is not an emotion rather it is a worshipping, trusting, and submitting relationship to God through Christ.
 
So, rather than a paralyzing terror, the positive fear of the Lord taught in the Bible is a key element in our transformation. It helps us have a proper, humble perspective of ourselves in relation to our awesome God; in times of temptation it helps us to remember the serious consequences of disobeying God.
The fear of the Lord protects us from sin (Prov 16:6) the wages of which being death (Rom 6:23), brings us life both now and hereafter.
 
Prov 14:27 “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.”
Prov 19:23 “The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.”
Prov 23:17-18 “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD. 18 There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”
How to grow in the fear of the Lord:
 
Set aside your prime time for prayer:
This will help reflect on God’s majestic greatness, and His continual presence. All this happens as we set aside prime time for communicating with the Lord in prayer. Someone has rightly said “Communication is the life-blood of any relationship and the fear of the Lord is a relationship with the Lord.
A suggested prayer every morning should be “Lord, help me this day to walk in Thy fear.”
 
Read your Bible day by day and obey its commands.
There is an inseparable relationship between the Scripture and the fear of God. The overall effect of every truth of Scripture is to feed the fear of God. In one way or another, the individual who absorbs the most Scripture, spiritually assimilating it into his heart, life, and very being, is the one who will know most of the fear of God. Obedience to God’s word is a sign of our love for Him which is the breeding ground for the fear of the Lord.
 
Fellowship with like-minded people.
There is a power of imitation, absorption, and influence. We become what we see. Relate with people who delight to walk in the fear of the Lord and who have an appetite for spiritual things.
 
Seek every opportunity to serve our fellowmen
Fear of the Lord is synonymous with religion. James tells us “in the sight of God our Father, pure and blameless religion lies in coming to the help of orphans and widows in their need and keeping oneself from the world’s corruption. (James 1:27)
 
To fear the Lord means giving Him
Our reverence trust and awe
Acknowledging His sovereignty
Submitting to His law