Day 66: The Fear of God
THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE
Before delving into this lesson, we'd highly recommend you read the article below on what we mean by fear of the Lord. Maybe this is a new concept to you, or maybe it's familiar. Either way, this article gives more context to what we're specifically discussing in this lesson and how it relates to sexual purity:
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. -2 Corinthians 7:1
A fear of God is not necessarily a trembling fear (although it could be), but a feeling of reverence and respect. We typically associate fear with being afraid, but it is actually an understanding of who God is, the power He holds, and His strength to overcome the darkness in our own hearts. Without a proper perspective of God, we cannot see over our own weaknesses and sin. When we look at our sin and consider how to deal with it on our own strength, we quickly become overwhelmed. I remember trying desperately to find freedom by my own strength. I’d grit my teeth, find freedom for a few weeks and inevitably stumble again. Why? Because I had no fear of God.
HOW TO APPLY WISDOM
The fear of the Lord is only the beginning of knowledge. In other words, the fear of the Lord means that we have a good perspective on who God is and who we are. Once we have that perspective, we can grow in our knowledge. I could not emphasize this more. If we have nothing else with Christ, we can at least have fear and reverence. Once we know him intimately, we come to appreciate that he has taken our punishment for us, freeing us from fear, which is the result of living under the law. We are no longer under the law, but under grace.
I used to despise wisdom and instruction, especially after a fall. I didn't want to listen to anyone, was defensive about my secret sin (out of paranoia that I'd be found out), and stopped doing anything that resulted in spiritual growth (i.e. reading my bible, praying, listening to sermons, and going to church). I’d be filled with pride and refuse to apply any biblical truths in my life.
In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. -Proverbs 14:26
If we want to move forward in strong confidence, it starts with fear of the Lord. Too often we stand on the shaky ground of our own confidence or self-righteousness. This is like building a house on sand. When we have a fear and respect for the power of God, we build our house on the rock of Christ.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” -Matthew 7:24-27
The journey towards complete freedom is a challenging one. It takes discipline, patience, and confidence. None of these things can be produced by our own power (perhaps for a short time, but not for the long haul) but only by the power of God through Christ. He is our rock, our salvation, our Lord and our savior. If we learn to fear Him, by praying to Him, studying His word, worshiping Him and spreading the gospel, we will know what it means to have true freedom.
Day 66 Application
Have you found yourself trying to find freedom by your own strength? Have you harbored resentment in the past against God and His wisdom/authority because of your sin?
In your struggles against sin, have you built your foundation on shifting sands? Have you begun to instead build a foundation on the rock which is Christ?
What does it mean for us to delight ourselves in God? If we are able to do this well, do you think it would change our proclivity to lust?
How can you continue to strengthen your ability to remain pure, even if temptations should arise? How can you be held accountable is such situations?