I saw something on Pinterest several weeks ago that sounded really cool. It was an inspirational post that said something like ” the Bible says do not be afraid 365 times…” Once for every single day of the year. Wow! Doesn’t that just sound so awesome!? Sorry, but it just isn’t true. From my count, and I am no expert, it is just over one hundred times depending on the phrasing you might consider acceptable. Sigh…so much for finding truth in social media…
However, for the past several months I have been trying to reconcile “fear or the Lord” and “fear not” in the Bible. How do I make sense of these seemingly opposite directives and practically live them out.
I grew up in fear. Afraid of doing something that would result in initiating abuse or unwanted attention from my father. Eventually I developed a general fear of being noticed by anyone. Book reports and speeches were torture from elementary school through college. Fear had such a hold on me, that I was very happy to marry my beloved husband at the court house with only two of his friends to witness, no family and no beautiful white dress. Fear is powerful enough to make me feel that I did not deserve that special day. I pray my daughter may never feel the same.
Fear has also encumbered my willingness to follow my Lord at times.But 1 John 4:18 teaches me that as a child of God I have no need to fear. Not only is there no fear in love but perfect love drives fear out. Christ now dwells within me and He will send fear packing…if I let Him. I have never been able to conquer my fears on my own (why do I always turn to self-help before turning to Jesus?). But when i fall to pieces and cry out to Him that” I can’t but Christ you can” then my fears crumble and faith grows.
Faith begins so small and will grow if fed properly. Jesus tells us this in the story of the seeds. The proper nourishment to grow faith is scripture and prayer. Diving deep into the Word and study. And time in real prayer with Him not a litany of wants and needs. Honestly opening myself to Jesus and building a relationship with Him. That is how I feed my faith. At times I am still full of fears but now I see these moments as opportunities to be more faith-full.
These experiences have grappling with fear and growing in faith because of them has oddly enough led me to a deeper understanding of the term “fear of the Lord”. After years of struggling to grasp this elusive truth I am only beginning to understand and it took a few years of immersing myself in the study of Christian identity and the loss of my “religion” (religion not faith!). I understand “fear of the Lord” to truely be a state of horror of ever being seperated from God and rejoicing in the Gospel that I am clothed in Christ.