Hey, a shorter post! I’ve shared this video to social media a couple times in the past. I’m sure some watch and say “that’s not realistic; the populations in Asians countries make it impossible that these two people would run into or know each other again”.
What I say to those people? You’ve never lived real life. What you set free in this world will always come home to roost, be it good or bad. Always. Stop to think about it in your life. It does so with such regularity, such alarming precision, such alacrity that you’d think it was a law of nature.
It sort of is. That pattern you see of things coming and going in your life that connect dots back through your history? That is God. That is His work to grow you. Look deeply into His face and try to say He isn’t real or He doesn’t Love you.
There is nothing to fear from Him. Not your past, not your present, not your future. There is nothing to fear in Him; He works all things for your growth, your education, your ability to live in the Kingdom, so never should you fear this world.
It is so unfortunate the Bible translators used the word fear in relation to God. Apologists the world over have spent centuries explaining away that fear of God is healthy and the Bible means it in a good way. That it’s like fearing fire or tigers. Hogwash. Fear is never good, never right. You’ve gotten your words mixed up. The Hebrew word, yirah, does NOT refer to fear. Linguist time.
Remember a few posts ago when I said that Hebrew is a language of the heart? Let’s return to that. The Hebrew language was born of a deeply spiritual people, a tightly woven herd. Their language is smaller than English, but their words encompass so much more meaning than any we have. Yirah refers not to fear or awe or anything so specific, but to the realization that you are lesser in comparison. That is why it’s translated as fear or awe: in both situations you are seeing yourself as less than something else, and there is either beauty (awe) or horror (fear) in that. But what that reaction may be is orthogonal to the word itself, which simply refers to understanding your relation to that entity/thing.
Whether you fear or awe in reaction to that feeling of relational smallness is completely your choice. It is your determination to decide what that “larger” entity or thing means to you and act accordingly.
Fear is an inward action — action, not feeling, you don’t feel fear, you do fear — performed to institute a limit on yourself. It’s the installation of a cage around your mind, heart, soul, spirit. It engages the reptilian brain to believe harm had already occurred and thus shunt whatever behavior it is you were trying to exhibit. It is always negative and it is always of the devil. Fight-or-flight, as I implied in my last post is a thing borne of corrupt understanding, the training of Satan. To look at it as some sort of genetic purity is a little absurd.
Awe is also an inward action, but a positive one. It does not limit you, but pause you. It doesn’t tell you it’s not OK to step forward, but rather it releases you from the need to step forward. It is a life-worship. It is the act of staying your hand from touching the coral reef because you don’t want such a beautiful thing to die. It is following rules not because you are obligated, but because you’re cured of the need to violate them. It is yielding all you are to Christ because you know He can do so much better with your life than you can..
You would stop me and say that the fear you’re talking about is a healthy fear, that it’s a reverent fear versus a spirit of fear. Again I tell you that you’ve confused ideas and that lack of linguistic precision is harmful to you and to others. Reverent fear is a contradiction in terms. What you feel for a tiger, a gun, leaning over the edge of a cliff, should never be fear. It’s awe. It’s respect and understanding you need in these moments. You understand what a tiger is capable of so you respect its domain enough not to step in, not because you are limiting yourself but because you are deferring to the more powerful being. You understand the destructive power of a gun, so you act appropriately. You understand the result of the sudden stop at the end of a fall, and you understand that there are ways to slip that simple observation don’t reveal, so you lean with respect and either accept the risk of looking as worthy or decide to step back and enjoy from afar.
And so it is with God. Never should you fear the Lord. Never, ever, ever. There is no such thing as healthy fear, let alone healthy fear of the Father. He has spent a few thousand years trying to tell us that we are His friends, His children, His most precious and adored creations, not that we should be scared of Him. He wants us to understand yirah, that He is greater than we are, but the effect shouldn’t be fear, but heart-stopping adoration and Love, the deepest respect and fealty.
Have you ever wanted to raise your hand to toussle your kid’s hair and see him shrink back? Of course not. So why would you ever intimate that God wants you to in any way limit your interaction with Him?!
We try to use the words “fear of God” to assure that people with dark intentions are scared straight. That’s insane. If you need to feel there’s a bolt of lightning waiting for you if you cross a line, brother you are already across that line. Christ told you that. God used lightning bolts and fire from the sky in a different dispensation. We like, in the modern church, to use the word dispensations to sweep away seeming contradictions or uglier parts of history, but we don’t truly seem to believe in them.
What is a dispensation? A period of human history and the rules/behaviors/promises of the day. The early church referred to the age post-Christ as the age of the church or the age of grace. The word used is the Greek word oikonomia, which refers to the act of managing a household. A dispensation, then, is a period of time that God managed us, His household. It is identical to the phases of your child’s life; the rules, the promises, the permissible behaviors are vastly different at each phase. An infant can’t talk, so they have no language restrictions, but they also don’t have teeth so steak isn’t an incentive. Your teenager doesn’t need a mobile, so that’s not a reward, but they also don’t need a pacifier so taking it away isn’t a punishment.
Dispensations are tracked in the Bible to help you understand that God is constant, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, but the way He manages us differs based on where we were as a species and where we are in our lives. There was a time when awe and fear were interchangeable because humans weren’t sophisticated enough to catch the difference. We are not that species anymore. We have understanding, and we are obligated to use it.
What you should feel when confronted with God is gratitude, repentance, and conviction to change your ways because you understand how much He Loves you and you respect what He is doing in you. You shouldn’t feel condemnation and self-flagellating hatred in the face of His purity. That’s just more death-worship.
Philippians 4:6 says “Be careful for nothing”, and in that even Paul used the wrong word. Some translations get closer by saying “Be anxious” or “Don’t worry”. Well, ladies and gentlemen, the word in that sentence should be “fear”. The idea Paul is trying to pass on is that nothing in this world you need won’t be provided by God, including your life, so don’t fear for it.
We don’t help the world conquer fear by blending language or watering down concepts. Stand strong in the Lord. Put to bed any fear that He is not on your side, that He is angry with you, that He is ashamed of you. You are exactly who He wants you to be right now, and if there is conviction in your heart about a thing then let Him change it, but do not live in fear of this world, of yourself, or most especially our God.
Father, we see the devil for what he is, but his corruption us so deep, so pervasive. It is so easy to step over the weight he has convinced us to tie ourselves so that we don’t even notice it anymore. Help us, Father. Help us to untie the bindings, to realize that we won’t float away if we’re not tied down. To realize that You never wanted us to be limited; You have only ever sought our allegiance, our friendship, our Love, gratitude, trust, and adoration. Help us give it, free of chain, free of restriction, free of fear of any kind. We so desperately Love You, Lord. Continue to show us how to do so more fully. In the name of Your Word, and my brother, Jesus, I pray. Amen.