February 15, 2010

Fear Factor

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30 (NAS)

I am a storyteller. I love to tell stories. I didn’t even realize that until one day Cheryle told me, “You are a storyteller!” Since Jesus was a storyteller, I stand in good company. People like to hear stories. It helps to accentuate a message or illustrate a point. I use a storytelling method when I share my testimony at Stonecroft Ministry luncheons.

Now and then, I revert back to my basic instinct of lecture-style teaching. I hope no one minds, but that is where I am heading this morning. But first, let me begin by stating regardless of the opening verse, this is NOT a gender-biased lesson.

On Saturday’s, I have been studying Proverbs 31 with a lovely group of women. This past Saturday we talked about the fear of the Lord. The first thing we had to do is define fear. For today, we can cut to the good part by defining fear as it pertains to the fear of the Lord.

Fear used in this capacity refers to the reverential awe we should have before a holy and mighty God. Of course, I am a firm believer that it should encompass a dose of what I call a healthy fear as well. I mean the Bible says something about fearing man who can only kill your body and then fearing God who created your soul!

Moving along the trail of fear, once the group decided that God deserved our reverence and our awe – we had to ask a very worldly question about fearing God. What’s in it for me? I hope I don’t loose you because I really don’t mean that like it sounds, however what does practicing fearing the Lord do for us?

In my lesson prep, I put together a series of verses where you find the phrase “the fear of the Lord.” I noticed that when I arranged them in a particular order, there was a wonderful and thrilling progression about it. This is what I want you to see this morning.

I’ll give you the verses and the points – but I want you to look them up for yourselves.

The fear of the Lord …..

1. Proverbs 19:23…leads to life. It’s not a fear to run from but toward. Our very life eternal and otherwise is in God through Christ Jesus, and fearing the Lord will lead you to the foot of the cross where real life is found.

2. Prov. 1:7…is the beginning of knowledge. It’s cliché, but knowledge is power. Knowledge can be what you know or sometimes, who you know!

3. Psalm 111:10…is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom helps you and I use knowledge appropriately. I’ve seen knowledge used without wisdom and it isn’t a pretty sight.

4. Psalm 112:1…brings blessings. I love blessings and I bet you do too! But read the rest of this verse to get the entire picture.

5. Psalm 19:9…creates a pureness or cleanness in us. This is vitally important since we can never be spiritual clean or pure apart of Christ. But it also enables us to do what comes next…

6. Prov. 8:13…hates evil. Yes Virginia, love your enemy, but hate what is evil. Hate only what God hates but to accomplish this correctly, your heart must be in order.

7. Prov. 10:27…prolongs life. Whether God sees fit to prolong your actual days or provides a fullness of what days you have, eternally we have it all.

Finally in Prov. 23:17…we are to live always in the fear of the Lord. This is an imperative, going forth command. It keeps us where we need to be to practice a godly life-style.

Perhaps you are like me and sense a theme here. The fear of the Lord leads to life, prolongs life and we are to live in it always. Fearing the Lord has everything to do with life. Your life. The life God intends for you to experience. So are you practicing godly fear in your life? If so, what does this look like in your daily walk?

I leave with you with one last thing. Man, woman, boy or girl, the one who fears the Lord is to be praised. The fear of the Lord is all about your life. It was not meant to be a small part or fraction of it. It is meant to be the driving force and factor of it.

What’s your fear factor?

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