We live our lives in fear.
Fear that grips our hearts, overrules our emotions, drives our decisions, flows from the deepest places of our hearts.
Fear that influences our words, actions, dictates the times we speak and chokes our words, catching them in our throats and rendering us speechless.
Fear that affects our bank balances, our use of time, our parenting, friendships and marriages.
There is no escaping a life of fear.
But there is an escape, a rescue, a wonderful redemption and salvation from the death of captive fear, an existence of deathly enslavement to fear, into a life of fear, a fullness of alive, joyful, worshipful, liberating and privileged fear.
There is a way to live in fear, a ransom from deathly, sinful fear, and that way is Jesus. The Son of God, who has brought us to enjoy fear of the Lord, no longer as slaves, but now as adopted sons and daughters. Filial, freeing fear.
No longer captive to fearing the opinions of others, trapped in spiralling thoughts of people pleasing anxiety. No longer rendered mute, our bodies paralysed and gripped, unsure of what is expected or demanded, overwhelmed by the burdening expectations of those around.
The fear of discomfort and exposure of self and sin. The fear of others knowing the secrets and intentions you bury deep within. This fear which spills out in defensiveness, in cruelty and shaming of others, in timidity and self-deprecation, all to layer up and hide the fears that pervade your mind and heart.
The fear that drives fight and flight resolve, that compels you away from the Lord, desperate to hide away from his sight, fearful of Him, afraid of Him.
The fear that hardens hearts towards him, denies his Fatherly goodness and comfort, and rages at him in hateful raging or dismissive apathy.
We see this fear pervade the world, the hearts and lives of our loved ones. We recognise this fear in ourselves, in our lives before Christ and in our fight now.
But you are no longer a slave but a son, a daughter
The Son and Daughter of the King, of your loving, good Heavenly Father.
A son, a daughter, called to a life of fear.
A fear that overwhelms, a fear that compels to action, love, speaking and serving. A fear that grips your heart, chokes your emotions, loosens and liberates your tongue one moment and silences you another. A fear that dictates and demands to be the motivation of everything you do.
But this fear is a fear cultivated by the Spirit you have of adoption, no longer of slavery.
The spirit of power, love and self-control.
This fear leaves us trembling. Trembling as the bride walking down the aisle who shakes with joyful, overcome, loving, fearful, wondering anticipation of meeting her bridegroom, trusting in the goodness he has shown her up until that moment and walking on in faith towards the life of promise thereafter.
Our fear of the Lord is a trembling fear of love, a trembling of delight, of overcome devotion and gratitude before the goodness and mercy of the Lord. Fearing the goodness and the love of our gracious God and trembling in his presence.
Our fear as children of God turns our hearts, minds and feet from fleeing away from God, trying to hide from Him, and drives us now to hide in Him, flee to Him for refuge, comfort, relief, forgiveness, mercy, strength and satisfaction.
No longer driven by a fear of slavery that whispers to us our need for self, our need for independence and self sustaining strength, that motivates all our frantic pursuit in life, or leaves us paralyzed in fear, crumpled on the floor, fearful and alone unable to stand.
This life of fear. This living in fear of the Lord doesn’t leave us staggering and striving for place and purpose, relying on nothing or no one else, leaning on myself on.
This living, godly fear doesn’t leave us staggering alone, but it does staggers us. This living fear liberates us from the crutch of self or others, and leans us instead on God, in staggered praise and faith in Him alone.
This fear of the Lord liberates us from deathly captivity to fear, and breathes new life in us. It gives us an anticipation of heaven, as we praise and tremble before our Almighty, Good God, Father, Son and Spirit, this life of fear of the Lord prepares us for an eternity of heavenly trembling and rejoicing before Him.
Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling