There are few places that torture me more than deep in my own mind. I mean it. There is so much chaos, endless questions. Soon the lack of understanding and sheer confusion in my brain trickles down to my heart and my heart begins to fret. Constantly I am tempted to fear man and life rather than God. (In fearing God I am referring to the way Christians consider God with reverence and awe, motivating us to surrender to the Creator of the universe)
I remind myself of Peter in Matthew 14:22-33, how he saw Jesus walking on water and asked Jesus to call out to him, which He did. But when Peter was walking on water - already a great miracle! - Peter was still afraid the moment he looked on the waves and the wind - so much so that he began to sink. That’s so me. There are times when I do things that remind me of the presence and power of God, but the moment I begin to walk in faith I look on the things coming against me and my faith wavers just like that. “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Jesus must wonder that a lot about me.
Yet despite the bigness of God, the way He is able to command the wind and the waves, He is also intimately involved in the individual man. My journey recently in reading Proverbs has been such a comfort in the midst of my doubting; particularly when I am feeling small, unworthy and insignificant. It’s notable how often man’s ways are established by God, and that has taught me that God is intimately involved in every man’s ways - whether they be the righteous man or the evil man. We realise then that the reason that there are even consequences to our actions is because God brings them about in His love and care for His people, all according to His will. Our God is sovereign as much as He is imminent.
Proverbs 19:23 says, “The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.” I am reminded therefore that I can trust Him even when I am tempted to fear (and so be restless) and tempted to trust in other things for my safety because I am already in His care.
Proverbs 16:6 reminds us that “by steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.” Nehemiah is a great example of this fear of God and resultant turning away from evil. In Nehemiah 5:14-19 he had the opportunity as governor over the Israelites to charge them a high tax as the past governors had done, so much so that, “even their servants lorded it over the people,” but Nehemiah did none of that and even committed to being generous in giving the people food that was given him, all “because of the fear of God’. He asks God in his fear, “Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.”
God’s steadfast love for me was displayed in Christ’s work for me on the Cross that my iniquity has been atoned for. In the every day journey for sanctification therefore I am called to fear God, where His reality would turn me away from evil. Even in the face of indescribable earthly gain, I reminded that nothing is worth more than pleasing Him. I notice though how it isn’t me that decides to turn away from evil. Rather, it is in fixing my eyes on Him and fearing Him in my heart that can prove to be the only way of persuading my heart to turn from all the evil this world will tempt me with.