Good Fear, God Fear
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…” Proverbs 9:10
“The fear of man bringeth a snare…” Proverbs 29:5
“You are more concerned with what they think of you than with what I wanted you to do,” the Lord spoke to my heart in the middle of the night one time. The last thing I wanted was to be up at 3:30 am, especially when I had a big day in ministry ahead. But there I was, pacing in my prayer room as I prayed, half asleep, half awake – awake enough to hear His admonishment. Then I rushed off to my computer. This time, I surmised, His admonishment – and message – were not just for me. What about you?
Though I had been praying, my mind had been drifting. I had started to think of some people I love who had decided to break off contact with me. For the umpteenth time, I felt bad about something I had shared with one of them. Once again, the Lord impressed on my heart that I had acted in obedience to Him with what I had shared. Yet, as I reminded the Lord yet again, I had so not wanted to hurt them! I hate hurting people! What I had shared had obviously not been well received – to say the least.
That’s when the Spirit of God stepped in and reminded me what He had been teaching me over the past several years. God MUST be first in our lives. NOT people. We were created to FEAR God, NOT to FEAR man. We are to love, honor, revere, praise, serve, and worship Him as God. He comes first. Yet how often do I, and we, fall into the sin of being more afraid of what people think of us, and how they will respond, than concern ourselves with and base our decisions on what is pleasing to God? He had shown me countless times how my thinking and actions had so very often been focused on people rather than Him. Now He was reminding me once again that a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, one who repents, believes in Christ as Lord, and turns to God and His ways, one who desires to spend now and forever with God in heaven rather than be judged and condemned to hell and the lake of fire forever apart from Him, is one willing to learn to live for Him – not for ourselves. And one who is willing to pay the price of losing anything and everything, of even everyone, of forsaking all, for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ.
God doesn’t command us in His Word to love our neighbors before we love God. He commands us to love Him with all our hearts – FIRST – and then, through Him, to love others (Mt. 32:37-29). Though I obeyed God by delivering His message, I needed to repent of my thoughts and feelings, of the countless times I had revisited this situation and doubted Him and His will, doubted myself for obeying Him, and feared what the people thought and been upset about the rejection I had ultimately received.
For whom are you living? Fear God. Make pleasing Him your highest priority.