The Right Kind of Fear

Fear makes us do stupid things. We run from trouble when we should stand up and fight. We cower from confrontation when we should fight for our principles. Instead of running to God for help, we seek it through the counterfeits of alcohol, drugs, sex.

While counterfeits are more immediate, our fears will keep coming back until confronted and conquered appropriately.

Paul said, “So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.(Ephesians 5:15-18-NLT)

Alcohol was my favorite tool to numb my mind from the troubles of the day and the pain of the past. But the troubles always returned. Emptiness, shame, anger and, of course, fear always came back.

If running away from confrontation where an Olympic sport, I would hold a gold medal. Instead of fighting for my first marriage, I avoided conflict and let divorce happen. I have left schools, towns, friends and walked out of jobs without notice. All because of fear.

There is another kind of fear. According to Strong’s Concordance, the meaning of the word as used in Psalm 111 includes terror, respect, and reverence.    God. It is the kind of fear that demands respect and acknowledges great power. This fear begins and ends with God.

The psalmist warns, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever. (Psalm 111:10-NKJV)

In his sermon, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God“, Jonathan Edwards emphasized the reality of hell as a real place. Not a bad  reminder.

Hell can begin here on earth. The emptiness of the counterfeits we choose can torture us, as fear’s grip tightens its hold. Granted this is nothing in comparison to the eternal torture of separation from God.

While the fears of the world make us weak, the fear of the Lord gives us strength. It is the latter fear that offers salvation. For, when we fear God enough to do as He commands and walk in His ways, then He can help us. Fear draws us to Him and His loving power sustains us. God is no counterfeit. Instead of numbing, God brings healing. Instead of temporary relief, He brings assurance and eternal salvation.

What will you do with fear? What kind of fear will you follow? Don’t choose a counterfeit. Don’t run away.

Run to God, who is able to help, change and renew you.

Please note: I am dropping back to writing here once a week, as I am writing two books, So, You Want to Serve in a Church and Living in God’s Peace. The first will hopefully be published next month. I should be releasing a new song, “Come, Holy Spirit” next month on iTunes. Of course, as each becomes available, I will let you know. Besides these things, I have a full-time job, exercise three days a week and attend weekly football games to help my son’s band. I am blessed to have so many great things happening and am not trying to show off. It’s just that sin and shame bottled me up for so long, I’m in a season of outpouring. Hopefully, it will continue.

Blessings to you all,

Don Terry,

Photo Credit: Michael Ely, Creative Commons

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3 thoughts on “The Right Kind of Fear

  1. Great thoughts on the fear of God. When I tried to find a pic for the devotional I blogged I couldn’t find one as good as what you have here. If you don’t mind I am going to use this picture also, but put a link to your post here for those who want to to read more on the fear of God. I think the two approaches on fear of God give us more on it then I’ve seen in 54 years of listening to pastors in church. Thank you for sharing this with me!

  2. Pingback: Fear Has Its Place (Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook) « forhisgloryandpraise

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