Tuesday, June 25, 2013

When Fear Is Positive

By Julie Gernand
Proverbs 9:10 – “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
You are sitting in a movie theatre feeling glued to your seat. You have one hand over your eyes, anticipating the next ghoul to jump out at you from the giant screen. You are wondering to yourself why on earth you would voluntarily come to see this horror movie with your group of friends. Yet, deep down, you feel a certain satisfaction from terror flicks. You’re a true scary film buff. It’s a kind of thrill.

I was listening to the radio program In the Market with JanetParshall this week, and the host was interviewing Dr. Grant Horner, a published writer and English professor. He was talking about fear in today’s society.

While listening to Dr. Horner, I was reminded that the “fear industry” is a multi-billion dollar entity today. We literally pay people to make us feel awful – through horror films, haunted houses, frightening theme park rides… and the list goes on.

Why, oh, why would people pay other people to scare them?

Dr. Horner told his audience, “…human beings are designed to fear, and we are designed to fear God. To be in the presence of a being that is so terrifying because we know we he could do to us, and yet the only way we can exist in his presence is because of his grace…”

Host Janet Parshall continued the conversation by reminding us that being fearful is a divine component in how we are constructed. We are made to fear the Lord! Fear is not necessarily a negative thing then when the object of our bowing, respect, awe, and admiration is the fear of the Lord.

Are horror movies and gigantic roller coasters in of themselves bad things? No. The ideas behind them are not necessarily flawed. However, craving for these things reveals a deeper longing within ourselves for Something Greater.

Friends, we are not to take the Lord lightly. He is the most powerful, omniscient Being to ever exist. He has the power to create mountains, as well as the smallest and most delicate flower. He allows gargantuan hurricanes and paints the most gorgeous of sunsets. If we have no fearful reverence for the Lord, we have cause to worry about the path we are walking. If we do not give a care for the Lord’s power, it could be a sign that we aren’t fully embracing all that the Lord is and does. However, if we actively cultivate a healthy, loving fear of our Creator, we need not fret.

The book of Proverbs has plenty to say on the subject:

Proverbs 10:27 – The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.

Proverbs 14:2 – Whoever fears the Lord walks uprightly, but those who despise him are devious in their ways.

My personal favorite is this one:

Proverbs 14: 26-27 Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.

To borrow from a devotional written by Jonathan Ziman, “A “fear of the Lord” recognizes that God is the sovereign creator of everything in existence. He made light. He created time. He alone is perfectly holy. We bring nothing to the table other than humble obedient worship. A fear of the Lord leads to life because it re-directs our hearts away from petty idols and foolish distractions and points us back at the Author of Life. Where is your heart focused today?”

Friends, our sins have been paid for through Jesus’ death and resurrection. The judgment and laws of the Old Testament were torn with the flesh of our Savior. There is no longer a division between ourselves and God.  Jesus is our true righteousness. He is THAT powerful.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. -Hebrews 4:16

Let us live with a healthy, loving fear of our marvelous and awesome Creator.

Lord, I am guilty of putting our greatness above yours. I too often forget how wonderfully powerful you are. Thank you, that in your greatness, you would love even me, a sinner among sinners. Thank you for dying for me, and thank you for calling me by name to be your child. Let me not forget your powerful love and grace.


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