Fearful but Unafraid
I’ve messed up a time or two in my life. Pretty sure we could all raise a hand to that.
I’ve watched people I care about make poor choices. I’ve hurt as I’ve watched parents mourn, addicts return to addictions and youth get wrapped up in sexual promiscuity.
Poor choices affect us all.
It’s a ripple effect.
It’s the shrapnel from the explosion.
If you’ve been on either side, you know this is true. You’ve watched your sin break the heart of those you love. You’ve watched how one bad choice led to more bad choices and the result is broken lives and relationships. And if you’ve been on the receiving end of the consequences of someone else’s sin, you know how it feels to be injured in battle.
So how can we prevent bad choices?
How do we convince ourselves and others that making wise choices is the only way to be truly happy? Right living isn’t perfect living, but it’s living in right community with God and others and there is peace there. Peace resides wherever people are living in a right relationship with God. That is how a refugee living in Turkey can have the same peace I do living in Texas.
Proverbs 1:7-19 gives us the exact formula for right living: The fear of the Lord.
The fear of the Lord isn’t being afraid God is going to strike me down. It’s a knowledge that he could if he so desired. It’s knowing he has the power to do what he thinks is best in relationship to the world, to me and to those I love.
But there’s more.
The fear of the Lord is also the outpouring of adoration for what he has done for us, and in obedience, out of gratitude, we follow his principles, his word. Just think about the amount of gratitude you would have someone who rescued you from a burning house, a near death experience. You would never be able to thank them enough. Your family would never be able to say, “thank you,” enough. It’s that same adoration, that same undying gratitude that is the fear of the Lord. Think about all you have been saved from. Aren’t you thankful? That thanks should spark an obedience, not out of fear, but out of gratitude.
Verse 7 tells us the beginning of making good decisions starts with understanding the fear of the Lord—understanding who we are in relationship to God. Do you see how an unsaved person could not have true wisdom because they have yet to discover who they are in relationship to Christ? They are prone to make bad, unwise choices or choices that ultimately may benefit them, but are out of the perfect will of God.
Verse 7 concludes: Fools despise wisdom and discipline. Ouch! I’ve been the fool before. I have resisted the wise advice of good counsel and God’s Word. I have, too many times, been undisciplined. And my choices have impacted those around me.
My challenge to myself today, is to take a close look as I go through the day and look for ways I can be walking in the fear of the Lord.
Do I need to deal with the areas in my life where I lack discipline? Do I need check on those who have been impacted by my poor choices, lack of wisdom and discipline? Do I need to apologize and ask forgiveness for past behaviors and choices that have hurt people I care about? Are there relationships that need healing because of the battle wounds I have caused? Do I need to share the gospel with someone who is making poor choices? Perhaps the reason they repeatedly make bad choices is because they have yet to realize who they are in Christ. Today would be a great day to share your story with them.
- Humbly- you haven’t arrived yet - Give God the glory- you didn’t get where you are because of you - With patience- don’t demand a decision, let the Holy Spirit do the work - In love- Love keeps the door open for more conversation.
And get ready––because wisdom and foolishness are going to take us for a wild ride! Life is full of choices. From food, to loving our neighbor, to choosing how to spend our money. Without the fear of the Lord and his wisdom, we are bound to live as fools in this world. Let’s learn first how we should live and then share it with others.