Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

Simple Peace

"God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself because it is not there. There is no such thing." - C.S. Lewis

In studying the peace of Christ more fully and closely over the past weekend, it has come to my attention in a earth-shattering way that I have no idea what it means to be completely at peace. For far too long, peace was nothing more than a word I tossed around while teaching or preaching to those who I felt did not understand it. However, what I have come to realize is that the one who was tossing that word around did not have the slightest grip on what peace actually entails.

READ Philippians 4:4-9

Over the weekend, Dan Winkler lead a study on the "Peace of Christ" found in the book of Philippians. Our study centered on Philippians 4:4-9 and he put in front of our eyes five commands given by God if we claim we desire His peace:

1) Rejoice
2) Be Known For Gentleness
3) Don't Worry About Anything
4) Let Your Requests Be Made Known To God
5) Meditate…

Simple Search

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God..."

A simple refrain that we have read, memorized, stated, and even sung on numerous occasions. We have looked into the eyes of our children and taught them the song that accompanies the words in Matthew 6:33. We have looked into the eyes of those who are dealing with trials and tribulations in this life and have called to mind the words found in Matthew 6:33. We have even, in some cases, written those words on a notecard and taped it to our mirrors in our homes to remind us of what is to be first and foremost in our lives. The simple challenge in reading this verse is not whether you can recall the years of singing, reading, and studying that you have done concerning this verse, instead it is the challenge that comes with realizing that I do not consistently put God first in my life.

In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God gives us an "if-then" proposition... "...if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my …

What if... Jonah

READ Jonah 1-4

What if Jonah had gone to Nineveh the first time God told him to go? Would it change the account in some way to see Jonah fully obey God in the first place? Would it change our opinions of Jonah (or even of God for that matter) concerning the Ninevites had he simply replied with "Your will be done"? As you read the story recorded in the book that bears his name, you find a character in Jonah who appears to be selfish, self-centered, bitter for reasons we do not know from just a reading of his account, and quite obviously stubborn. However, as God informs him of his assignment, we see an anger in Jonah that results in blatant disobedience. (v.3 "But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.") In taking that first step in the opposite direction of the Lord's assignment, Jonah sets out on a course that can be described as frightening, disturbing, sad, but also educational, surprising, and even spiritual. So, again, I ask, what if …