Read: Proverbs 1:33
Whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Those famous words were spoken at a time when a lot of people were living in fear. America was in the middle of its deepest economic depression ever—before or since—and the newly elected president, Franklin Roosevelt, uttered those immortal words during his first inaugural address in 1933.
There are several kinds of fear, and they can either be good or bad, depending on their source. The first kind of fear is based in an irrational worry of “what if”, and it debilitates a lot of people. Someone has described this fear with a clever acronym as “False Enemies Appearing Real”. A second kind of debilitating fear—and it’s definitely a real one—is the fear that comes from foolish living. Foolish living (see Psalm 14:1, 53:1) by its Biblical definition is to live as if God and his laws do not exist—to live as a practical atheist. Those who live in disregard to the Almighty and his ways cannot help but have an underlying and chronic dread of looming trouble.
But Proverbs speaks of a third kind of fear—one that is healthy to body and good for the soul: The fear of the Lord. To fear God is to be in awe of his person, to respect his commands, and to live in knee-knocking terror at the consequences of ignoring both. As a kid, I loved my father immensely, and I respected his laws—most of the time. When I didn’t, I suffered swift and sure consequences. And over time, I grew to understand that love, respect and fear were not mutually exclusive realities. In fact, the mixture of all three produced a pretty tasty cocktail of security and confidence in my life.
Such is the fear of the Lord. Those who imbibe will have nothing to fear except the loss of fear—fear of the third kind, that is.
Live in Christ, live in Christ, and the flesh need not fear death.
Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It:
Every human being lives life in five domains: personal, familial, social, vocational and spiritual. Take some time today to assess if you are living, in reality, as a “practical atheist” in any of these areas—without regard for God and his laws. If you are, simply and sincerely repent and take corrective action; if not, “be afraid, be very afraid.”