The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
For by me your days will be multiplied,
and years will be added to your life.
If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
if you scoff, you alone will bear it.
~Proverbs 9:10-12 ~
I was uncomfortable with the idea of fearing God. I defended Him as One whose love is so great He needs not be feared. This was based on my own understanding of 1 John 4:18: “Perfect love drives out fear.” Today, I have come to understand that when the scriptures calls our attention to fear God as a means to be in awe or show reverence toward. Scripture frequently refers to this phrase so that we may gain greater understanding that goes beyond being in awe or showing reverence toward.
It is the kind of fear that terrified the disciples when they encountered the Most High during Christ’s Transfiguration (see, Matthew 17:6). The same fear that overwhelmed Isaiah when he proclaimed “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5). Such fear where the Apostle John lay prostrate and face down when he encountered the glory of Christ (Revelation 1:17)?
How does a loving Heavenly Father instruct us that wisdom begins when we fear Him? Like most, I had approached with a casual attitude of familiarity. I was not living in reality. I did not take Him quite seriously in my season of adolescence. Even more truthful is that I never truly taken my sinful desires and temptations I had fallen into quite seriously. Much of my fear rested on that of punishment for walking in disobedience to the commandments I knew I was supposed to keep. The frailty and shallowness of my ignorant faith kept me from experiencing the overwhelming greatness of my Heavenly Father’s grace, compassion, and gentleness. I did not see Him correctly.
My true experience came when faced with the reality of the vast, bottomless chasm of my own frailty and vulnerability toward the snares and temptations that held me in bondage. So much so that it separated me for any meaningful relationship with my Heavenly Father. It also caused separation in having any meaningful relationships with others. It was then that I came to understand the immeasurable cost of Christ’s infinite atonement. True fear was experienced that day when my desperation caused me to call out to Him for healing and restoration.
Such fear exposed the reality of my own personal unworthiness for such costly grace. Fear that moved me toward absolute humility and surrender to His will and dedication of my life to Him. Something that is required of me every single day. No one truly understands the power and depth of Christ’s infinite atonement than those who are gripped by the enormity of the Gospel and the patience and love of our Heavenly Father. This understanding and personal revelation begins to rearrange our lives. And that is what wisdom is all about.
Wisdom in recovery begins when we come to realize the love God has for us and are able to confidently find rest and peace. I know the truth of this reality. Such true understanding had to come by my own overwhelming awareness of His greatness, holiness, and power as they contrasted with my own sinful and carnal nature. There was nothing more fear-inducing than this. It is where I needed to begin. It is where healing and restoration of my mind, heart, and soul had to begin. It is the place where I, as a sinner, came beating my chest and crying out forgive me Father for I am a Sinner (see Luke 18:9-14).
This is what shaped my own awareness. It will definitely, and hopefully, shape your own awareness as well. It has reshaped how I relate to people. The way I engage in service and work. Even how I pray has had significant impact through this awareness. Everything I think and do reflects the nature and power of Godly wisdom that I have come to appreciate and enjoy. My whole process and personal mindfulness and spiritual growth began when I gave over my life and will over to the care of my Heavenly Father. It was vital for me. Otherwise I’d still be struggling, drowning in my own pit of despair, and continuing to burden myself with anger, resentment, and bitterness.
The fear of God starts when we come to the end of our own selfish pride , humble ourselves and are willing to give over our will and life to His care. There we begin to walk the path of wisdom and truth.
How do you understand the term “fear God”? Have you experienced a spiritual awakening where you felt overwhelmed by God’s holiness, greatness, and power? What are your thoughts on coming to a place of humility and realizing one’s desire and willingness to surrender one’s will and life over to His Care? What are you struggling with today in your own faith, relationships, and recovery?
Please share your insights and thoughts on this in the comments below. This requires you to log in using different social media platforms and helps prevents any potential spam from getting through. Any feedback is appreciated. Please subscribe and share these articles and devotions as well. Thank you
—Damascus Way Recovery