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Simple Fear

The book of Ecclesiastes is filled with words of wisdom, filled with ideas about what it means to survive your own poor choices, and, ultimately, filled with one major idea about what it takes to live a life that is full.

READ Ecclesiastes 12:1-14

"The end of the matter; all has been heard..."
This is not a statement of opinion, nor is it an open door for future discussions about what is going to be stated next... Rather, it is a full statement of fact, intended to let the reader (or hearer) know that what follows this statement is to be considered the end-all, be-all statement on the matters that have been discussed previously. When you read back through the book of Ecclesiastes, you find that Solomon covered everything under the sun (quite literally, he states that throughout the book). It is the basic concept that everything else has already been discussed and talked about ad nauseam. In other words, as the statement goes, "I have said all of these things to say this one final thing". What is said next will not go easy with the culture and society being promoted and glorified around the world.

"Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man."
When thinking along the lines of commandments and rules, one often drifts back to their days in school, the military, or even back to the days of living in a strict household where rules were enforced on a daily basis. The wandering mind might focus on the first time it remembers being punished for wrongdoing... how it was physically painful (perhaps), mentally trying (always), and even emotionally draining (mostly). The mind locks on to how to deal with this jolt into reality, how to adjust so that action does not take place again. Reality and fear go hand in hand... In both senses of the word "fear", reality plays a major role. On the one hand, reality helps us to understand respect and the need for a healthy fear of those in positions of leadership, control, and power. We look at our bosses, our parents, and we immediately see that if we do not have a proper respect and care for those people, our lifestyle and future plans/ideas may be drastically altered. On the other hand, reality also reveals our true fears in life. For some, the realization that a doctor's diagnosis did not go how they had hoped puts them in relationship with the terrifying fear of the unknown. For others, the understanding that they must stand in front of their peers and co-workers and deliver some type of presentation puts them in contact with a horrifying fear of speaking in public. For still others, a power outage due to a storm brings them into view of their paralyzing fear of the darkness. In each of these cases, it is reality that becomes a revealer.

Here is a reality check for all who are breathing today... "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed; and of this He has given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31)

This reality brings into focus one of two fears for us today... both simple, but both vital to our relationship with the One who created us:

1) "I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." (Psalm 139:14a) - I am realizing my true, intended purpose from my very creation... I will praise God for I was made to respect His power, respect His glory, and respect His commandments. The idea of fear for the Christian is not paralyzing, horrifying, or terrifying... No, instead the fear for the Christian is a term of endearment, a term of love, and a term of respect that is owed to my God who created me, formed me, and has provided a path by which I can rejoice in my salvation.
2) "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:31) - I am realizing the true terror of entering a station where God cannot be and where I cannot return from. I will come face to face with the deeds that I have done, realizing that I neglected the offer from my Creator to be saved and redeemed. It is scary to witness and realize that my existence will be summed up in the words spoken by the One who gave everything to keep from having to be afraid - "Depart from Me, I never knew you."

Thank God today if you find yourself fearing Him and keeping His commandments. If you haven't, or you are choosing not to, then I pray that the fear of falling from grace and away from the protection God has provided to this point will cause you to re-examine who you are and whose you are.

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