By Patrick Hawthorne
In To Fear or Not to Fear…The Fear of the Lord (Part 1) , I discussed that the fear of the Lord is not to be fearful or afraid of the Lord but to walk in such a reverence for our Heavenly Father, for the Being and love of His character, that we exercise our faith in total and uncompromising obedience. It is to have such a love and respect for Him that we would be willing to give our lives for His service.
There are several sides to fearing the Lord. Many Christians, when asked about fearing the Lord, tend to gravitate to the side of authority; to the side of His demand for perfect justice. Now, that is not a bad thing at all. However, if our focus is only on the justice and judgment side of “Almighty God,” we will miss the relational side of “Heavenly Father.” Both sides deal equally with fearing the Lord.
James 4:8 tells us to draw near to God and He will draw near to us. Do you know that you can dictate just how much of a relationship you have with the Father? If this were not so, why would James tell us, in just a few verses before, that the Holy Spirit yearns for us with a jealousy so intense that it equates with a lust. Why would the Word say that the sum of God’s thoughts for us is more than the sand of this earth?
Think about it…If you were to say, “I have a reverential fear of the Lord,” but you only thought about Him every now or then, how much effort do you think He would put into the relationship? Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. It is your decision.
Another side of fearing the Lord is to not treat as common that which the Lord has sanctified. Remember when Peter saw the vision of the sheet with the animals come down from heaven (Acts 10:9-16)? The Lord told him to eat. Peter’s response was, “No, Lord. I will not eat anything unclean or common. The Lord told him, “What God has cleansed, that call not thou common.”
Too often, we Christian’s want to approach our Heavenly Father in the same fashion we would approach a fast food drive through. We treat coming into His presence as a common thing or an “Oh, it’s you again,” type thing. Try that with your mate and see how that works out for you. I’m betting you would be sleeping in the dog house. No, we should cherish the opportunity to approach our Heavenly Father.
Awhile back I heard a minister say that when he goes before the Lord during his prayer time, he makes it a practice to pause for a couple of seconds before praying and to meditate on the goodness of God. He had learned to not treat as common his prayer time but to relish in the joy of coming before His Heavenly Father. The minister said that when he started doing this he noticed an almost immediate feeling of the presence of the Lord.
My thought was, “Well, if it works for him, I will give it a try.” Sure enough, not only did I begin to feel an almost immediate presence of the Lord, but my prayer time became less feeling like a one-sided conversation and more of a chat time with my Lord and friend. It’s wonderful! I have learned the, “Hallowed be Thy name,” part of the Lord’s Prayer.
As I wrote in part one of this two part series, I don’t have the Fear of the Lord perfected. I’m far from it. However, I am in the race. How about you? Are you ready to put on your running shoes and join me in this race? Be blessed.