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Thursday, December 13, 2012

CULTIVATING THE FEAR OF THE LORD


I had a conversation this week with several men about the fear of the Lord. One of the men asked the obvious question of how you develop the fear of the Lord. I have several suggestions on this concern.

First, I think the question needs to be directed in the primary position. The first question is not “How do we raise the fear of the Lord in society?” We must first ask how we cultivate the fear of the Lord in ourselves. I believe there are three crucial factors in developing fear in our own hearts. (1.) We need to expose ourselves to the reality of God primarily through scripture. The absence of the fear of the Lord is an intellectual disconnect from the reality of God. John did not have to cultivate fear when he saw the glorified Christ in The Revelation. Isaiah did not have to work it up in his vision in the temple [Isaiah 6]. (2.) We must ask God to reveal Himself to us. We need to be supernaturally drawn nearer and nearer into God’s presence. (3.) Praise the Lord. Speak about His majesty, holiness, greatness and glory. We are stirred by God’s glory as we express it in our words.

From here we do not turn the question directly to society. We must next ask how to stir the fear of the Lord in our families and in the family of God. The same three steps must be applied to these circles. (1.) We must expose our families conjugal and spiritual to the glory of God primarily through scripture. (2.) We must ask God to reveal His glory to us. And (3.) we must express His glory for the ears of those gathered. This is one obvious means for the fear of the Lord to become contagious.

Now, how does this apply to society in general or to an entire people-group, our own or another? Well these same three elements are necessary. Only here I would suggest that the order becomes crucial and needs to be rearranged from what I have listed in the two categories above. Prayer must be the first element. It may very well be the most deficient in most of our efforts. And where revival or an awakening broke out in the past, prayer, extraordinary prayer, was always most prominent.

4 comments:

  1. So much of what is seen today is not unlike Jeremiah 36. When the word of the Lord is read, those who are open to God will respond with the fear of the Lord. But, like in verse 24, "The king and all his attendants who heard all these words showed no fear, nor did they tear their clothes."

    We must pray that God will be merciful and permit a season of repentance. I fear that today, like Pharaoh in the days of Moses, men have hardened their hearts toward God. When the church returns to the fear of the Lord, it will show--we won't have to "work it up." When that happens, I pray that many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord (Psalm 40).

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  2. A large part of the history of the advent celebration was repentance. The second candle represented preparedness. John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for the Lord and when you look at how he did that, he preached the need for repentance and consequences if they didn't. The ax was laid at the roots of the trees that did not bear the fruit. Though I shared that message with our retirement home group, (leading with the first candle of hope the week before, I don't remember hearing a sermon on what preparedness meant in connection with the Advent season. Repentance is usually tied to a fear of offending our Creator God. During the great awakening, sailors would come ashore and seek out in fear a pastor or believer who could help lead them to peace with God and obediance to Christ. The Spirit brings fear. The repentant then know peace with God.

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