As human beings, fear can cripple us but there is a greater fear that stands to triumph over darkness and win our hearts to awe and wonder: the fear of God.
The Bible tells us that the fear of God leads to wisdom and translates into worship (Proverbs 9:11; Psalm 111:10), but what does this mean for us? In these scriptures, we find two meanings of the word fear. The first is fear as an emotion and the second refers to fear as reverence and awe. The truth is, the two cannot be separated in our understanding of God. When we only undertake half-truths and partial understandings, we stand to miss something of who God is. So how does emotional fear connect to this idea of awe and wonder?
The gospel of Mark and Matthew draw a parallel between two stories of Jesus and his disciples – and their responses of fear and worship. In both scenes, the disciples find themselves on a boat amidst rough seas, and Jesus calms the storms (Mark 4:35-41; Matthew 14:29-33). Earlier on in their journey with Jesus, when a storm came and he calmed the seas, their response was fear. But in the second storm that passed, they responded in worship because they had come to know of his true power and nature. There is a journey we go on as believers from fear – recognizing what He’s capable of in His power – to faith – believing that He’s leveraging it for us. So many of us have rejected a healthy fear of God and therefore miss out on His extravagant peace and world of wonder. When we come into the knowledge that the same God that creates galaxies and moves mountains, is the one that has prevailed in love for us and continues to wage war for our hearts; worship becomes our natural response. As we assume a posture of praise, bold in faith, we acquire a greater confidence in his Word over the fear we may feel. When we choose worship, we give permission for God to move.
‘Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” ‘
Hebrews 12:28-29 (NIV)
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