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Living in the fear of the Lord

August 9, 2010

It was about mid-afternoon one day last week.

Hot and humid. Even in the darkest, most ventilated room of the house.

I was kneeling in the closet in front of our two clothing drawers, getting frustrated at t-shirts and thinking about a dozen different things at once, when I started to realize I’ve been thinking about eternity a lot lately.

You don’t realize what’s floating through the back of your mind all the time, and I don’t know what made me realize it all of a sudden as I put away clean socks. I think, rather, I noticed that I hadn’t always thought this way.

And I started to remember some of the blank stares I’ve been getting – especially from students – when I talk about “that day.” That day that Jesus comes back, or you go visit Him early. That day where you give an account for every idle word, and you’re rewarded for those things you were faithful in when no one else saw.

I think I remember a time when it was impossible to live with that in mind. “That day” seemed so far away that it took constant reminding, and even then it wasn’t very urgent in me. Like talking to a second grader about next summer; he knows perfectly well it may never come.

But it suddenly seemed difficult to think like that second grader. I stopped, set a few pair of folded boxers in my lap, and stared at the crack in the drywall.

How did that happen? When did that happen?

Then I remembered – or was reminded – that probably two years ago I started praying for the fear of the Lord. That thing that’s all over Proverbs, that thing that kept people from joining the Church in the first few chapters of Acts and yet inspired countless miracles.

I knew that’s what this was, but … well it’s not really what I expected.

I thought the fear of the Lord would be … heavier. Maybe aflame somehow. Maybe electric. Maybe I’d start to talk like Jay Falon and people would be afraid to look me in the eye.

I didn’t really think it would be a quiet resolve in my soul to do my very best even when no one else is around. I didn’t think it would be a gentle reality in my spirit that I will answer for that, and that, and that. I didn’t think it would be the subtle peace of mind in knowing that God sees even if my students or my husband or my family doesn’t.

But I was wrong.

And it makes sense that I was wrong when you consider everything Proverbs says about the fear of the Lord. It …

  • is the beginning of knowledge.
  • hates evil.
  • is the beginning of wisdom.
  • prolongs days.
  • is a fountain of life.
  • is the instruction of wisdom.

That soft conviction that won’t let me get away with anything less, does all those things.

I’ve always said that I think the “fear of the Lord” is more than the “healthy respect” explanation a lot of people give. I think there is some actual fear involved, and I’m starting to see how that works. There’s fear involved in looking at things from eternity’s perspective – I forgive when I don’t want to because of fear – but I have confidence in Christ at the same time.

If you’re still the second grader, ask Holy Spirit for the fear of the Lord. He’ll give it. You might not notice at first, but He will.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 9, 2010 9:13 am

    have you watched ‘The Book of Eli’?.. nice movie. deep meaning in dialogue.
    thanks for writing such good things on blog, hardly people does that nowadays.. take care.

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