I have a lot more yet to understand about the importance of fearing God, but right now I’m here: All of us will fear something – it’s part of our human nature on this side of heaven.
I have a friend who fears unhappiness, and he cannot find peace until he feels happy. So when he is not careful, he reveres or worships happiness, and he tries to keep the Commandments of the Happy: Thou shalt never be bored; thou shalt never never do stuff you don’t want to. And when he feels unhappy, he fears unhappiness even more, and tries to hold to these false commandments even harder. Happiness is hard taskmaster.
I have a friend who fears being defined by others, so she reveres or worships self-definition (authenticity) and keeps the Commandments of the Self-Defined: Thou shalt do what you want. Thou shalt not care what others think you should do. Thou shalt self-express and discover yourself no matter what the cost. And when she feels defined or trapped by others, she fears even more, and tries even harder to keep the Commandments of the Self-defined.
What do you most long for – what do you revere and worship - and what are the commandments you keep?
Do you fear poverty? The commandments of the rich control you. In Wall Street we trust, and we panic when we lose a AAA rating, as if that rating will make our lives good.
Do you fear loneliness? The commandments of the Noticed control you. Reality TV is easy to make fun of, but a lot of people who don’t get on TV will do anything to be seen.
Do you fear sickness? The commandments of health gurus control you. I am astonished at how we follow fad after fad for one less wrinkle and an extra year of life.
If you fear these things, you will obey the commands of the moneymakers, the attention-grabbers, the health gurus, and they will fail you.
There is only one thing we can fear that can also save us, and that’s God. The very things that can scare us – His power, His holiness, His purity, His Presence- are the only things that can give us ultimate hope.
Ancient advice still rings true: “What does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Dueteronomy 10:12)