Our Dwindling Armory – Part 1: The Fear of God

Faith and hope in God, love for God and fear of God. These are a child’s most powerful assets and defenses in a world of darkness, and can continue to be their most powerful assets and weapons against an often cold and unforgiving world when they become adults, and we may be slowly destroying them.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 9:10, Job 28:28

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Proverbs 1:7

When I was a child I feared God. I understood His power, His might and His sovereignty enough to have reverence for Him. I was never scared of Him, I just understood that His power and sovereignty are absolute and that I must respect that.

Unfortunately I have found that our culture has made having fear and being scared into the same thing. Are we perhaps teaching children to fear anything but God? If so, why? Is it because we want to teach children about His compassion, grace, mercy and love, and we think that teaching them to fear Him will contradict all that?

Well, it won’t. His wrath does not contradict His compassion, His righteousness does not contradict his grace, His justice does not contradict His mercy, and His power and sovereignty do not contradict His love. If He has compassion on all that He has made (Psalm 145:9) but Has no wrath, then His character would indeed contradict itself in the face of theft, false witness, adultery, rape, murder, etc. Sins that have victims. His grace is directly tied to His righteousness. He gives us the free gift of eternal life – which we could never earn – because he wants us to be right with Him. Mercy is irrelevant if justice is not first an option. He is sovereign in His never changing love. His sovereignty is altogether powerful and his power is altogether sovereign in His never changing love.

As a child I feared God, but I was never really scared of anything. Many of the stories that my parents tell from my child hood speak of a child who is curious, adventurous, self-assured, outgoing, compassionate, determined (often stubborn), loving, sweet and… unafraid. Like when I was still small enough to get under the fence, I would scrape my back as I squeezed under it so that I could get out of the yard and explore the world around me.

When I was three or four years old I was running around the back of the church after the service, and I ran into a glass table which cut my forehead. The cut was so deep that I needed stitches, so my mom took me to the emergency room. While the doctor was trying to put stitches in I was flailing around like mad, and two nurses had to hold me down. When the doctor finally finished up and the nurses were about to let go, my mother told them that they might want to step back once they do. According to my mother, the nurses looked at her like she was some sort of a monster. You see, the nurses thought I was struggling so much because I was scared, but my mother know me better than that. The nurses let go of me and I promptly jumped to my feet, put up my dukes and declared “You bad!!!” My mother then quickly picked me up, thanked the doctor and nurses, and left the room.

My fear of God never made me feel small and insignificant. I think it did quite the opposite. It made me feel big and important, because I knew that the God of the universe, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the almighty and all-powerful one had a special place for me in His Kingdom, and in His heart. When I was maybe 2 years old I would stand on the chair in the living room, put my hands in the air, and yell “Sooo big!” My parents have pictures of me doing that. I’m pretty sure that no one ever told me of my significance in my Heavenly Father’s eyes, and if they did I probably wouldn’t have understood. I just knew it, because I already knew God, and I feared Him.

So, why are we teaching children to be afraid? Why do we glorify and glamorize fear of anything but God on occasions like Halloween?  Why do we make a fun and exciting experience for children out of being scared of zombies, vampires, ghosts, goblins and the like? Are we trying to make them feel good about being scared of freaky things so that they’ll stay away from unsavoury situations in real life?

Is it perhaps that we fear man, creatures and circumstances so much more than we fear God that we would sooner protect children by teaching them to be scared, then by asking God to protect them when we can’t? Do we perhaps have so little respect for Christ’s authority that we do not bother to teach children that all authority in heaven and on Earth has been given to him (Matthew 28:18), and that what they need most is to trust him in their darkest times?

I feared God when I was a child, and in the times of hurt and confusion I was never afraid. I saw the world around me and never cowered away from it. I knew that God was with me, and that His power and sovereignty are absolute. I’m certainly glad the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, because God did eventually temper my youthful zeal with heavenly wisdom so that I did not go running off into unfamiliar situations unless God gave me permission to. …Usually.

Thank you for reading my blog. 🙂 God bless you.

Sooo Big Sooo Big

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Spirit Vs. Flesh: A Short Story in Dialogue

Fifth entry! 😀 If anyone reading this also reads the bible, perhaps read Jeremiah 17:5-10 before or after reading this. 🙂 If you want to.

A few months ago – probably just a few months under a year ago – I wrote a short story. It started with me asking myself the very question that this story starts with, and then answering myself. This is what came of that.

“Why do you resist life and seek out death?” said my spirit to my flesh.

“Because sometimes it is easier to die than it is to live,” said my flesh to my spirit. “Death is quick to take its prize and presses in where it is not welcome, or it sneaks in and weakens you day by day and bit by bit without you knowing it. Life, on the other hand, waits to be invited. Death comes in at all directions, but life waits only at one door. Sometimes it is easier to surrender to the onslaught of death than it is to open the door and bid life ‘Come in’.”

“Oh my dear, you have deceived yourself,” said my spirit to my flesh. “If life is waiting for you, and you have only to bid ‘Come in’ upon opening the door that you know it stands behind, than all that is stopping you is either your pride or your fear. Do you not trust that life will do as it should, as it has promised? Do you believe that it is only death masquerading as life? Do you believe that you can do without it? Speak my dear, and tell me what stops you from doing what is good.”

“Perhaps it is both,” said my flesh to my spirit. “Perhaps I do not trust what is knocking at the door to my heart, and feel that I should do well without it.”

“If that is the case my dear,” said my spirit to my flesh, “then you had better shut up and let me deal with it. You know nothing of life, for you have spent far too much time in the company of death. Step down, do not hinder me, for I know what to do.”

“Be silent,” said my flesh to my spirit, “for I am the one who knows best here. Do you think I do not know what is behind that door? I know! It is life, but it wishes to control me. I will not be controlled!”

“Are you mad?” said my spirit to my flesh. “Do you not know that life is the only way to be full of the power that you seek? Are you a fool? Speak and answer me. Why do you seek that which will take away what you desire?”

“I seek nothing of the sort!” said my flesh to my spirit. “I know what I seek, and it is not what stands behind that door.”

“Fool!” said my spirit to my flesh. “You ignore the One who gives you life because you are too stubborn and proud to bow down to Him! Be silent! Step down! Do not hinder me! I know what to do!”

“You know nothing!” said my flesh to my spirit.

“Be silent!” said my spirit to my flesh. “I have had enough of this. I will open the door and you will not stand in the way of He who comes in! Shut up, and never speak again, for I am serving the Lord. If you do not serve Him then you must be silent.”

My flesh fell silent, and my spirit opened the door. My spirit immediately fell to the feet of the One who stood outside and cried aloud in tears, “Oh my Lord, please come in! I have awaited your coming for longer than I wish to recall! Please, come in!” and my Lord did as my spirit requested. My spirit rejoiced and began singing to my Lord, and my Lord blessed my spirit. My spirit is ever grateful, and never stops thanking my Lord.

My flesh remains silent, but it awaits another time to fight with my spirit, for it is still not convinced that this Lord is good and worthy of praise.

Interestingly enough, this dialogue in my head happened around the time that the current Pastor at my congregation was talking about what is referred to in Romans as the “old self”. Romans 6:6 I guess my “old self” was still fighting against my new life in Christ. In fact, the time when I wrote this was also a few months after I had attempted suicide (and luckily failed), and was spending a lot of time talking to someone online who also seemed to be losing interest in life.

I think that God allowed me to hear the battle that was going on inside me. It is a battle that happens every day, but I believe my spirit becomes stronger with each victory. However, when the flesh has victory, it also becomes stronger (or rather it’s weakness becomes dominant in me). It’s a hard battle.

Well, I think that’s all I should write now. Thank you for reading my blog!

~As soon as I get out of the habit of listening to God’s truth, I get into the habit of lying to myself.~