Come children! Listen to me!
I will teach you what it means to fear the Lord.
Do you want to really live?
Would you love to live a long, happy life?
Then make sure you don’t speak evil words
or use deceptive speech!
Turn away from evil and do what is right!
Strive for peace and promote it!
One of the tensions we live with in the Christian faith is how to properly think about fear. I am far from figuring this out, but as I read through this Psalm and thought about fear, I feel like I gained a little ground in understanding.
One of the Pastors at my church was speaking today and talking about fear, shame, and guilt are not from God. This is primarily because God’s heart is for relationship with us, and fear, shame, and guilt drive away from relationship with God, not towards.
If we have put our faith in Jesus, there is no more fear, shame, or guilt necessary for us. We are in right relationship with God, and Jesus took all of our fears, shames, and guilts of the past present and future on himself at the cross.
But we now live in the space between that act, and being perfected on the other side of eternity. We are still trying to live up to the status we have already attained.
But there is still a place for a certain type of fear, the fear of the Lord. This is the sort of fear that is characterized by reverence or awe, and leads us to do right in the eyes of God.
David does a great job describing what fearing God in this proper way looks like:
1. Don’t speak evil words.
2. Don’t use deceptive speech.
3.Turn away from evil.
4. Do what is right.
5. Strive for peace and promote it.
I was having a conversation with God today and sort of complaining about how complicated it is to like the way of Jesus in this world. Sort of a “It’s so complicated, where do I even start?” sort of thing. I felt like God was reminding me it’s actually very simple. And these 5 things are a good reminder of that.
It’s very simple, but incredibly difficult because of how selfish I am.
Lord please chip away at my selfishness, center my heart on you instead of me, that I might fear you like David did.