Living in a country & culture that’s overrun by fear, I’m constantly learning about what it means for me to fear the Lord above all. It’s crazy, living in the land of over 300 million gods, how much you can learn about what makes a person tick by what they fear the most. In this country, what you fear determines which idols/gods you worship, and I don’t think us westerners are as far removed from this fact as we’d like to think. Why? Because my fears place my trust in lies & expose the false gospel I’m believing. Because my fears expose my idols.
If what I fear the most is ministry failure, then my heaven is ministry success/how I & others define ministry success, and I then become my own functional savior.
If what I fear the most is the bad opinion of others, then my proverbial heaven lies in their good opinion and my savior being their words/actions/thoughts/opinions.
If what I fear the most is singleness, then my heaven is marriage & my functioning savior is my spouse.
The beautiful thing about our fears/our proverbial idols remains that in His perfectly inspired Word, we have our answer & a call.
In the middle of Israel’s idolatry & abandonment of the Lord’s lovingkindness & salvation, Yahweh beckons in Ezekiel 14:4-5:
“Therefore speak to them and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Any one of the house of Israel who takes his idols into his heart and sets the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and yet comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him as he comes with the multitude of idols, that I may lay hold of the hearts of the house of Israel, who are all estranged from me through their idols.”
He doesn’t tell me to clean up my act, get rid of my idols, deal with my fear, but instead tells me to BRING THEM. Why? Why, in my shame & idolatry, would I come to the one true God, fists clenched & tight lipped?
- Because it shows confidence & trust in knowing the Only One who can meet the needs the idols cannot, will not, and have not. (Galatians 3:2-7)
- Because it shows my humility & affirmation in the One who can mend what’s been broken, minister the balm of the truth to the scrapes of the lies, & encourage the desperate heart. (James 4:6)
- Because He tells me to come, in all my honest mistakes, boldly before the throne room, the place in which I may receive mercy and grace in time of need. (Hebrews 4)
- Because when I come to Him, I see His provision causing my faith, which is of more value than gold or silver, to increase. (1 Peter 1:7)
- Because it proves my readiness to accept my sinful state, moving me closer to a godly grief that leads to repentance and ultimately, salvation. (2 Corinthians 7:10)
- Because He doesn’t ask for the clean, perfect, purified hearts but remains most glorified in and through my weaknesses. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
My earthly, temporal fears preach a false Gospel, pointing me away from the One that made everything, sustaining it by the Word of His power. When my fears are appropriated in the Gospel, my greatest fear becomes death, which is already defeated by Christ, Himself. When I fear the Lord, it eclipses and silences all other fears. When I fear the Lord, I’m given wisdom while simultaneously learning that the One who is Perfect Love casts out all my fear. When I fear the Lord, my answer stays the same that He told Adam, Abraham, Isaac, David, the disciples:
“I am with you.”
“Always, to the end of the age.”