Part 7 – Growing to Understand Rightly the Fear of the LordAs we come into some small degree of understanding the interaction between Jesus and the Holy Spirit in producing fruitful aspects and holy attitudes within ourselves, and in our relationship with God, we are challenged and compelled to desire those same things growing within ourselves, overtaking our own base human natures.
A. W. Tozer helps us to begin to see how this can be experienced personally, by those of us who are becoming more and more intimate, adoring followers of Jesus ourselves, as we grow in Him:
When we come into this sweet relationship, we are beginning to learn astonished reverence, breathless adoration, awesome fascination, lofty admiration of the attributes of God and something of the breathless silence that we know when God is near.
You may never have realized it before, but all of those elements in our perception and consciousness of the divine Presence add up to what the Bible calls "the fear of God."...
There are very few unqualified things in our lives, but I believe that the reverential fear of God mixed with love and fascination and astonishment and admiration and devotion is the most enjoyable state and the most purifying emotion the human soul can know. (Whatever Happened to Worship? 30-31.)
This kind of godly fear is not at all like the panoply of unclean fears terrorizing many people:
1. Our focus is on our human condition, without leaning in confidence on true faith in the Lord God Almighty, who is love, and who loves us.
2. Our fears are based on some unnamed perceived threat to our own existence, with or without knowing whether there are real enemies.
3. We walk through our lives, sometimes falling into those dark places, where we find ourselves obsessed with what could happen.
4. We begin to identify with, and to cope ineffectively with this frighteningly unbearable, palpable sense of feeling totally alone.
5. We perceive ourselves as without any protection from harm.
6. We ultimately find that we are unable to defend ourselves from these unknown and unseen potential assailants.
Reverential and obedient fear of the Lord is a clean, full sensation, of ourselves personally and completely being in the presence of and intimately connected to God, drawn into a realm above and beyond our universe, and in fact, as the Bible says, “being found in Him,” the only One “in whom we live, and move, and have our very being!”
This conjunction of tremendous intimacy and connection, coupled with a sensation of the immensity in power, love, knowledge, and the very Presence of another Being, creates both a complete and unearthly fulfillment, along with absolute respect accorded from our innermost heart, through layers and levels that have become attuned to Him alone.
As John the Baptist so eloquently phrased in his statements concerning this reality, toward the end of his own ministry and his very life, while surrendering himself into the burgeoning new ministry and person of Jesus, rising up before him:
JOHN 3:30 He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease. [Jesus must grow more prominent; I must grow less so.]
31 He who comes from above (heaven) is [far] above all [others]; he who comes from the earth belongs to the earth, and talks the language of earth [his words are from an earthly standpoint].
He who comes from heaven is [far] above all others [far superior to all others in prominence and in excellence].
Nothing in this universe is more fulfilling and exciting than:
· truly experiencing the communion that we can have with Jesus
· being enabled to more fully recognize and bow before His greatness
· having the amazing privilege of His permission given freely to come closer into Him
· entering into an endless loving grace that is far above and beyond us
· surrendering ourselves in adoration before Him with utter reverence
· finding ourselves embraced and engulfed in Him
· experiencing wave upon wave of purest joy and peace flowing through us
· receiving a foretaste of never ending heavenly delight