What are you afraid of today?
There is only one type of fear that is good for you, only one you can trust.
And this type of fear is good for you. What does “fearing” God mean?
“To fear God is to respect and revere Him.” That’s our Sunday school 101 answer, isn’t it?
But that’s the easy answer. “Revere.” “Respect.” Those are worn out words. Almost meaningless in today’s adjective-slinging, vocab-bling-bling culture. Words as comfortable as last year’s slippers, with about as much dignity attached. Our familiar approach to “fearing God” is unhealthy.
Our failure to listen, trust, and sometimes even acknowledge God exposes the truth of the case. What’s needed is a heart-stopping, transforming fear of the reigning Creator King that leaves us breathless, broken — and prepared to see God.
For only a profound fear moves Him to graciously unveil the full nature of His divine character to us as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. I’m not talking about a manageable “fear” manifested in hushed tones and holy postures. I’m talking about face-down, jaw-hanging awe flowing onto the feet of a transcendent Being who is utterly unmanageable.
Perhaps you think I go too far, take it a bit too literally?
Consider the Apostle John’s encounter with God’s Son, Jesus, after His resurrection. In Revelation 1:12-18, John describes Jesus’ appearance.
John goes on to describe his reaction to seeing the risen God-Man:
(Now remember this is the same John who was Jesus’ “beloved” disciple, who “leaned upon” Jesus’ breast in intimate fellowship.)
Let’s also keep in mind that John’s vision is the same “version” of Jesus presently interceding in heaven for us; the very One we too, will encounter face-to-face. Now, I don’t know about you, but the shattering portrait John paints is not the picture that comes to mind when I think of Jesus.
Perhaps it ought to be.
In Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis illustrates the point succinctly in a conversation between Lucy and Mr. Tumnus when they’re talking about the great lion, Aslan, the story’s Christ-type. Mr. Tumnus: “…One day he (Aslan) will be here and the next he won’t. But you must not press him. After all, he’s not a tame lion.” Lucy: “No… but he is good.”
God is not “tame,” but He is good. He levels us, then lifts us, in one stroke, one moment. This high view of God transcends our comfortable theology. It gives birth to holy fear before a God who alone rules our world. It sears our vision and subjugates our will on a visceral level. And all the while, it positions us to lean in trustfully — even on His breast — to behold our mighty King and call Him “Friend.”
Inexplicable . . . unimaginable.
Feature photo courtesy of Vincent Rice