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, donterry@ising4God.com

Photo Credit: Michael Ely, Creative Commons

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Are You Hungry?

Photo by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos, Creative Commons

Appetite can be a dangerous thing for those who lack discipline.   I love food and don’t make exercise a priority, so I’m overweight. No big shock there. I could eat less and exercise more, but that would mean I’d have to give up something I really like for something I really don’t want to do.

Do you find yourself in the same situation? How about other appetites? There is a cause and effect to all of them.

There are consequence for overdoing. Sometimes giving in just once has dire consequences. Especially if you hunger alcohol, drugs, or sex. (click to tweet)  

I understand the desire to come home and relax with a drink. But there’s danger in putting your trust in alcohol to bring a sense of peace and relaxation. Drugs can help us heal and ease out pain when used appropriately. Used illegally, or abused, we can grow dependent on their effects. Sex is beautiful in the context of marriage. Outside of that context, it can destroy.

I like the taste of alcohol. I will go even farther and say I like the way it makes me feel. But I had to stop drinking altogether for a couple of reasons. I have a long and terrible family history involving alcohol. Both grandfathers and a step-grandfather were alcoholics, my father was an alcoholic and killed two people, using alcohol as part of his defense. The other reason was that I was beginning to enjoy it a bit too much. It’s easy to fall in love with that which tastes and feels good.

Marijuana wasn’t a big deal for me to quit. Though I loved the smell and taste (yes, I inhaled), it made my stomach hurt. Acid, aka LSD, was an interesting experience. But I didn’t like feeling its effects 3 days later. Tobacco was my drug of choice. I still love the smell of cigarettes. Didn’t think I’d go there did you? Might as well be honest, right? I used to smoke a pack a day, sometimes more. I loved smoke break time at work, smoking while driving, after meals, the first one in the morning, the last at night. I loved smoking. This one I stopped because I’ve had asthma since I was a child. Smoking and asthma don’t get along. Another reason I stopped was that it controlled me. I didn’t just like to smoke, I had to smoke.

I could write about my personal experiences with sex, but I don’t want to and you don’t want to know. Trust me. I will just say that I know from experience that sex is easy to confuse with love. Sex can offer a counterfeit sense of closeness and relationship with other people. Uncontrolled sex can be addicting. It can cause children to grow up without fathers, break up families, bring disease and even death.

God offers so much more than temporal things can offer.  Through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, we not only have eternal life, but the presence and power of the Holy Spirit that offers everlasting comfort and strength.

In John 6:35 “…Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

Trusting in the power of Jesus to save and help is safe. It is in His Words that we find true fulfillment. Drinking from the waters of eternal life, quenches our soul like nothing else on earth can.

Are you hungry? Don’t trust in things that can destroy your body and your life. Trust in Jesus Christ, the “bread of life.”

Live your lives as a song for God.

Don, donterry@ising4God.com

Photo credit: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos, Creative Commons

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