“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
–Proverbs 1:7 (NKJV)
Have you ever made a crazy or impulsive decision that had a bad effect on your life? There’s a good chance that God’s input was entirely ignored or left out of your decision-making process at that time.
About 4 years ago, I made a decision which could have really turned my life upside down if my mother hadn’t become involved. I was single at the time, and I decided I’d had enough of living alone. I joined a Christian dating website, and within a day or two I was on the phone with a young man who sounded very nice and romantic. After we talked for a while, the man invited me to meet him at our local shopping mall so we could get acquainted.
I was pretty excited about this, but as you can imagine, I was quite nervous as well. So I gave my mom a call and told her what had happened. She thought things were moving too fast, so she did some background checks on him the next morning, and she found out this man had been in trouble with the law multiple times. Mom’s message was clear: “Do not go out with this guy!” So I called him one more time and broke off our very brief relationship.
As the day went on, I felt worse and worse about what I had done, and I kept thanking God and my mom for stopping what definitely would have been a dangerous situation. That night I realized why all this had happened in the first place. I had jumped into the dating game without asking for God’s guidance beforehand. Instead of putting my trust in strangers and possibly risking my life, I decided to wait on God and leave the big marriage decision in His hands. I met my future husband about a year later, and we have no doubt that God’s decision was the best one for both of us.
This situation taught me an important lesson. Instead of making quick decisions on our own, our duty as Christian is to wait upon the Lord, and to fear the Lord. But what does it mean to fear God?
Some people who have lived through abusive relationships believe that we need to literally live in fear of God. They think God is a harsh cosmic dictator, and anyone who questions Him in any way will undergo swift and terrible punishment. But the Bible states that God is love in its purest form. After all, He sacrificed His only son so that the world might be saved from the power of sin. Instead of transferring fear over to God, Tim and I believe that the fear of the Lord is expressed in two equally important ways.
Fearing God means accepting and respecting His wisdom and His loving guidance. If I had asked God for wisdom before I called that single young man a few years ago, I’m sure He would have saved me from going through all that trouble. God wants to be our best friend, and everyone knows that friends are a great source of wisdom and advice. So I hope that you will never be afraid to ask for God’s advice in any situation and listen to Him, no matter how difficult or easy the problem may seem. God has promised to give us wisdom whenever we ask for it, and we show our respect and love for God whenever we gain and internalize His guidance.
The second way we can show God our faithful respect is by hating and departing from evil. Jesus famously performed many miracles, and He often commanded most of the recipients of those miracles to refrain from sinning any longer. Now that God’s son had entered their lives in a radical way, they were to show their love for Him by leaving their sinful ways behind.
Of course, since we live in a fallen world, we can’t just turn off sin like we would turn off a light switch. But if we choose to follow and love God, His holy spirit will speak to us and tell us how to rid ourselves of evil pursuits. These may be simple things, like staying away from certain TV shows or from people who can’t stop taking advantage or bringing everybody eown. Or God could be telling you to confess about something you’ve been doing for a long time, which you know is wrong. God is loving enough to forgive our sins, but He doesn’t want us to use that as a license to deliberately continue in sinful ways.
I encourage you not to think of God as an unquestionable law-giver. Instead, learn to respect and love God. Study a little in His word every day. Pray to Him as often as you can, and give all of your cares and concerns to Him. Most importantly, learn to fear God by loving Him and choosing to follow Him.
If you’re not a Christian yet, now would be a great time to give yourself a spiritual spring cleaning. Learn about God and His only son Jesus in the Bible, and humbly ask Him into your heart. If you are following Jesus, re-dedicate yourself to His teachings and His loving ways.
God knows that we cannot keep from sinning, but He has promised that He will be there to guide us and keep us away from evil things, if we will only listen to Him and fear Him.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 6:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 313-209-8800. Our PIN is 8699032. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.