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Sunday’s Monday

Some things are written in the bible that a person has to prepare for should they ever expect to understand what is being said. A stumbling block that immediately comes to mind is Philippians 2:12 (KVJ), Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. This passage confused me for a long time because I was reading it in my understanding which was telling me to do what I’d done most of my life, “fear God,” (be afraid of God). My late Pastor Joe Dillard and I were talking one day and I posed my dilemma to him. He softly smiled and assured me that I was fighting a battle that I couldn’t win if I was trying to understand how God works in the natural because God is so much more than natural. Then he told me to use that passage to embrace Jesus in open question-and-answer time. Talk to Him just as you are talking to me, that is what He wants. Here is the way things are, He wants to be your best brother, the friend you automatically turn to, the counselor who guides you, the one you trust with everything you have and are. Then he (Joe) gave me a New Living Translation bible in which Philippians 2:12 (NLT), Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.

With this information under my belt, I decided to research the subject starting with which listed fear in the verb form as,(7) to regard with fear; be afraid of; (8) to have reverential awe of. We are not being asked to be afraid of what God can do to us if we fall short, Jesus is asking us to work (cooperate) with Him to bring out His beautiful attributes and character traits while working out our salvation through faith. Paul is speaking of the reverential awe we should feel any and every time we think of God’s trinity. However, we must realize that Satan is against us at every turn confusing our thoughts with fleshly reasoning and physical comfort zones. Our enemy whom we often trust over Jesus can convince us that the mess we were rescued from is exactly where we need to be. The KJV Bible mentions fear 385 times, using the two forms of fear; the fear of being afraid and the fear of reverential awe. An example of good fear is Proverbs 9:10 (NLT), Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. And bad fear is Exodus 20:19 (NLT), And they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!” Fear (reverence) versus Fear (scared).

The bottom line to all this is, no matter how you slice it, if it is the spirit of fear, it is not of God. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT), For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. If God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, we obviously shouldn’t have one. Our fear should be the awe of who God is, what Jesus did, and how the Holy Spirit is working in us right now. Our trembling should come from the overfilling of God’s grace and the absolute power of His love pulsing through every cell in our body. Fear as in scared is of the flesh and is good when used to warn us of danger but is bad when misplaced in our living. Fear has the power to draw us to seek more of God or fear can cause us to hide from God. Without sounding judgmental, you need to know that if you can’t tell the difference between the two fears, you may not have met the true Jesus yet. Ask Him about it, He knows!

Father God, I come to you this day with a petition that all who read this might grab the intent of the writer. There is no need to fear you in the wrong tense of fear unless you’re still a stranger in their life and should that be the case, I pray you fix that today. May we all find peace in accepting and faithfully believing in you and the promise Psalm 118:6 (NLT), 6 The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Lord, you know us better than we know ourselves and I ask you Father to teach us how to fear you in love. Amen




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