I often have people ask me, “Why don’t we see more miracles like we read about in scripture or in the early church?” My answer is, “Where is the reverential fear of the Lord that existed in the early church?” I believe miracles and reverential fear of the Lord go hand-in-hand—we won’t see one without the other.
When we read the book of Acts, we see that the early church experienced many amazing miracles. But the early church was also full of respect, honor and submission not only to the authority of God, but also to one another. I don’t read or hear many sermons on “fearing the Lord” in our modern society.
Of course God wants us to run to Him when we sin, not run like Adam and Eve did in the garden (an unhealthy fear). We do have a loving and merciful God but very often in my life I have “taken advantage” of that mercy and grace. Our sin separates us from God. We have to run to Him, confess and TURN. For me, the work comes from paying attention to “my sin” and what God’s words says and making sure I consciously turn…seeking to “give over” those behaviors to Him…asking Him to help me recognize the temptation…and stop short and turn.
I know that God is not vindictive nor anxious to take away our blessings, but we can certainly HINDER the flow of them if we don’t RESPECT God enough to believe what He has said in His word about our behavior. When we believe what God says and we follow through with corresponding actions, we are showing Him respect, and that type of respect is called the fear of the Lord. Very often we can eliminate God’s protection from our lives by disobedience.
The saying is SO TRUE…we can choose our sin but we can’t choose our consequences.
The Christian life is about “growth” and spiritual maturity and victory over the “sins” that can easily entangle us. Let me be clear…I am not saying we experience perfection or become sinless…but we can stunt our growth…veer from God’s anointing on our life…if we continue a life that show’s God no respect and submission…or a reverent fear.
From my own relationship with the Lord I can honestly say that I have had NO truly valuable knowledge until I decided to know God deeply, intimately and soak in His word. God’s word doesn’t lie. When God says, ”Hide my word in your heart that you might not sin against Me,” wow! is that so true (see Psalm 119:11).
Reading God’s word every day…soaking in it…chewing it…digesting it…has given me such a healthy fear, reverence and AWE of a holy God…who not only created me, but sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in me…as a Helper for life…on this earth…to navigate His purpose for me.
How in the world can I or you accomplish His plan…His purpose…His will…if we don’t fear (respect, listen, submit) to Him? As I have submitted to God’s voice in my life, I have experienced many personal miracles.
We have also heard it said, ”We plan and God laughs.” That is a very, very true statement. Proverbs 19; 21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” If you study God’s word intently, you will know that His will prevails. It is sovereign. We either participate and fulfill His designed plan for us or we go our own way…thumping our noses at the full word of God, thus living a very unfulfilled, ineffective life rather than fulfilling His plan and purpose for our lives.
In scripture it teaches that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. We are cheating God when we willfully and knowingly over and over again know what His word says and choose not to do it. That is not fearing the Lord. It is total disrespect. God never stops loving us and we are…
NOT to run from Him
but to Him…
When I read and study the book of Proverbs, there is just NO GETTING around scriptures like Proverbs 28:9, “If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction even their prayers are detestable.”
Or Proverbs 28:13, “Whoever conceals their sins does NOT PROSPER, but the one who confesses and RENOUNCES [TURNS] them finds mercy” [emphasis added].
And Proverbs 19:23, “The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” It doesn’t mean we will not experience trouble in this world, but it promises that if we fear the Lord and choose to follow and obey Him, we have His provision and protection. We will always be affected by our sin and the sin of others in this life.
I leave you with some of the greatest scripture and instruction in all of God’s word, Proverbs 2:1-8:
“My son, if you accept MY words and store up my commands within you, TURNING your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding. and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the FEAR of the LORD and find the KNOWLEDGE of God. For the LORD GIVES WISDOM, from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. HE holds success in store for the upright. HE is a SHIELD to those whose walk is blameless, for HE GUARDS the course of the just and protects the ways of his faithful ones. Then you will UNDERSTAND WHAT IS RIGHT AND JUST and fair—every GOOD Path. For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men” [emphasis mine].
When we “fear the Lord” and have a reverence for HIM, then we can gain knowledge and walk confidently and courageously in the path He has planned for us.
If you feel that things are not going your way, if you feel lost…unsuccessful…frustrated…miserable, I encourage you to READ God’s word. Start in the book of Proverbs. Ask God to show you what it means to FEAR HIM. The kind of fear I am talking about is REVERENTIAL FEAR. He will be extremely Faithful to show you. At that point it is our free choice…to act on the knowledge and wisdom HE will freely give. We are not robots. He leaves the choice to us!