Fear. It’s everywhere. It’s running wild and unabated in people’s minds and hearts. It’s driving decisions and changing our lives. We’ve already discussed how faith should trump fear during this time of panic and uncertainty. However, there is one thing you should fear: God.
I came across this quote by Charles Spurgeon and felt that it was quite fitting for this season.
“The fear of God is the death of every other fear."
Think about it. When we fear God alone, all our other fears vanish and become trivial. Fear of the future, fear of the present, fear of COVID-19, fear for the economy—all of it grows dim when we rightly fear God our Maker. But what does it mean to fear the Lord? How can the fear of God put to death all our other fears?
In the Bible, fear for the Lord means a healthy respect. It’s acknowledging that God is way bigger and higher than we are. It’s respecting God as God and fully believing that He has power to do anything. He made the earth by merely speaking. He calls the earth His footstool and says the heavens fit in the palm of His hand.
God is so much greater than we could ever imagine. But often we forget. We forget how big He is and try to put Him in a little box. We limit His omnipotence and say that our present circumstance is too much for God to handle or too broken for Him to fix. As our world as we know it falls apart, we forget that God knows the beginning from the end and that He’s not surprised by anything.
The stock market crash didn’t take God by surprise. The global pandemic we’re facing didn’t catch Him off guard. The shutdown of just about everything didn’t faze Him. In fact, all these things have been filtered through His hand and, in His sovereignty, He knew about all of it long before it came barreling into our lives.
God isn’t surprised by all the events that seem to be changing on a daily basis. No! He’s right in the middle of it working out His purposes. And we can partner with Him and get involved in the glorious work He is undertaking during these trying times. However, before we can do that, we must first learn how to rightly fear Him. We must allow the fear of God to overshadow all our other fears.
Not only must faith trump fear, but fear of God must put to death all other fears. So how do we do that? How do we rightly fear God during a time like this? Here’s three practice steps we can take to rightly fear the Lord in our daily lives.
We must remember who God is and not limit Him to our human understanding. He is God and His ways are higher than ours. So let’s not belittle our Creator by placing limitations on His power or greatness. (For more about who God is, check out the “Who is God?” series here.)
We must remind ourselves daily that God is in control. The world might seem chaotic and the future uncertain, but God’s got it all—including you—in His hand. He’s sovereign and that means that nothing happens without His knowledge and consent. Does God cause these things to happen? No, but He allows them to and completely controls the situation so that His will and purposes may be accomplished.
We must keep our eyes fixed on God and not on our circumstances. Part of fearing God is always keeping Him in the forefront of our minds and hearts. The moment we forget, we no longer fear Him. The moment that we allow the cares and concerns of our lives take prominence, we lose sight of who God is. So this last step is important. It’s something we must actively choose to do throughout the day. And as we do, we’ll notice more of our other fears will die in light of the splendor and majesty of our God.
I hope these simple tools help you as you face a new normal in the midst of COVID-19. Our world is changing during this pandemic and no one is sure where we’re heading as a nation, society, culture, economy, and people. However, God knows and has always known what 2020 would hold for the modern world. So let’s remember the sage advice from Charles Spurgeon and daily fear God. Let’s be ready and able to partner with Him in the work that He is doing amidst the chaos and confusion. God is doing a mighty work right now, but before we can join Him we must put to death all our fear by fearing Him alone.
“The fear of God is the death of every other fear.”
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