According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, fear is “an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.” It’s living behind a mask that veils who you are. Moments of fear are like panic attacks that completely consume you. You step outside of yourself and explode causing you to react in a ridiculous manner. Sometimes you sink further into yourself and implode as you cower, hunker down and try your best to prepare for danger, pain or harm. You feel compelled to go against what you believe to be right in hopes to prevent that thing from happening. You use words that you probably don’t mean. You run. You hide. You cry. The longer you linger in said fear the more you begin to chip away at that which makes you who you are.
Ah, but wisdom….Proverbs 1:7 says that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” Fear? Yes, fear. The word “fear” in this verse refers to its other meaning of reverence and awe. When we revere the Lord we deeply respect and admire Him. We stand in awe of who He is and out of respect, we heed His words of wisdom and listen when He calls us. Wisdom shows that we have good judgment. Proverbs chapter one talks about how wisdom is calling out in the streets for anyone who will listen. She is trying to pour out her heart on all and bless us with her riches, but the key to gaining said wisdom is to respond to and answer the call. We have to turn away from fear of man, fear of loneliness, fear of condemnation, fear of failure, fear of fear…and instead turn toward fear of God.
If I choose to ignore wisdom, then I choose the calamity that follows. I choose the “disaster (that) sweeps over you like a whirlwind” and the “distress and trouble” that “overwhelm” me (Proverbs 1:27 NIV). “For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them (Proverbs 1:32). As for me and my house we choose to fear the Lord and follow Him. The great promise to us is that when we choose to fear the Lord He serves as a hedge of protection. I don’t have to be afraid and I don’t have to live in fear because my choice is in the reverence, respect and awe of the Lord. I gravitate to wisdom and get consumed by it. Therefore, “no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent” (Psalm 91:10 NIV). Proverbs chapter one talks a great deal about the calamity that strikes those who refuse to listen to wisdom but at the end it gives us great hope when we do listen, when we choose fear of the Lord over fear of man… “but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
And this too can be your test. If you’ve tried it on your own and failed, if you’re still walking in fear and want to be free, if you’ve grown sick and tired of the vicious cycle that seems to chip away at who you are, it’s not too late. Wisdom is calling out to you and Jesus is welcoming you into His presence devoid of fear of harm. He wants to cover you under His wings and embrace you with His love. To fear the Lord is only the beginning but the wondrous life in His glory is soon to follow. Fear the Lord and He will protect you.
Yesterday I said, “I can’t. ” Tomorrow I think, “I can.” Today, right now… I will. I will walk away from oppression and strife. I will walk out of yesterday’s grief and into today’s peace. I don’t need a New Year’s Resolution to start living. I’m fixing my mind on good things, holy things and remembering that God knows the plans He has for me. He has plans to give me a hope and a future.
Expelling the fear and welcoming His light. Tomorrow is not promised to me or to you. Today I will!