I didn’t realize how much “fear of God” there is in the world. And I don’t mean “the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge” type of fear. No, I’m talking about being afraid of God. The type of fear doesn’t lead to knowledge. When you fear God in a way that makes you run away from Him, not to Him.
I remember being scared of God.
I grew up in the church, I went through confirmation class at the age of 13, got confirmed, and attended church camp. I did not want to go to church camp. I thought it was going to be boring, and I definitely didn’t want to spend all day reading the Bible for a week.
I knew about Jesus. I probably passed confirmation class with flying colors, and that was enough for me.Do you know Jesus or do you know of Him? Click To Tweet
Faith that Matters
I could probably tell you all the stories of the things He did in His life.
But one year at church camp, there was a Bible study on Revelation. We couldn’t get out of going to Bible studies, just like I couldn’t get out of the fear I had of God.
I thought I knew Him, but I didn’t know Him at all (like you would know a best friend kind of know). However, what I did know with everything in me was that if I died in that moment, eternal life wasn’t waiting for me. Revelation happens once. Once we die, we don’t get a second chance. And. That. Terrified. Me.
But over that year, something changed. My fear led me to begin to know who He really is. I can’t say I had a defining moment where I gave my life to Christ. But what I can say is that one day I noticed I didn’t hold the same fear about God anymore. My fear turned to gratitude for what He did for me.
And my knowing turned personal.
No longer did I know the stories about Him, I knew He was my Savior.
No longer was I terrified of Revelation, but in awe of the beauty that waits for those who believe in God’s only Son, Jesus. I mean… Revelation 21:4 (He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain), sounds really good, it is a beautiful promise.
And I can confidently say He rescued me. He is my strong tower. He has never abandoned me.
He walked with me through the storm. He gave me peace in the chaos. He has been faithful even when I have been faithless.
He is my God.
Have you really ever stopped to consider all of this? The fear of God? Faith? Knowing about Him, verses knowing Him?
There is someone around me right now who is really close to death. He knows he is going to die, and I have been wondering what that feels like. Is he afraid? Is he ready? Does he wish it would come faster? Or would he ask for more time? Is he at peace, or is he wrestling with his salvation, and if he had done “enough” in his life to get to Heaven?
I don’t know but for me, thinking about this was a very sobering thought. I love how Jesus responds to us in our time of need, when we reach out to Him in faith. This is displayed beautifully in scripture. In John 5, Jesus finds a man waiting by the pool to be healed. But never did anyone come to help him get in the pool. He had been paralyzed for 38 years. 38 years he desired healing.
Jesus hears of his condition and asks him if he wants to be well. The man’s response was “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
So basically, he is saying “yes, I want to be healed…but…” Honestly, his situation probably looked pretty hopeless.
Jesus responds by saying “Take up your mat, and walk.”
Jesus speaks. He does what Jesus says.
Like this man, sometimes our situations seem hopeless too. Especially when we are facing certain death, and there is no cure. But this shows us that when you trust He is God, you see He is God.
Don’t You Fear God?
This takes me to another man in scripture. One that was faced with certain death. There was no hope for him to survive. Death was a sure thing. A miracle wasn’t going to happen here. Not this time.
It happened when Jesus was hanging on the cross. There were two other men nailed on crosses beside Him. All three of their deaths were certain. One mocked Jesus, saying “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself, and us.”
The other responded, “Don’t you fear God?” This man knew they were being punished justly. He also knew that Jesus didn’t deserve this death sentence.
Knowing everything he had done, knowing what he deserved, he tells Jesus this:
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
He knew who Jesus was. And Jesus responded to this man’s faith by saying “Truly, truly today you will be with me in paradise.”
This man’s fear of God leads him to a faith that secured his salvation.
So how do we move from fearing God, to deeply knowing who He is despite our circumstances?
One way is to trust Him. We believe He is who He says He is, and believe in Him, and then walk when he says walk, even amid our excuses and “buts”. And we approach Him in full faith, asking Him to remember us in His kingdom. Knowing that His response will be our arrival in paradise, with Him waiting for us there, preparing a place for us.
God is so good.
Join the Conversation
Have you been letting your “buts” or other excuses keep you from walking with Jesus? Has something been crippling your faith? Join the conversation in the comments below.Does your fear of God draw you to Him, or push you away? Click To Tweet
We are putting together an anthology that’s all about putting our faith (and doubts) into words and we would love to have you join us. You can find out more about sharing your faith and joining this project here.