I am still on sabbatical, so again you have the privilege of hearing from Amanda, who prayed and labored over this month’s post. I know Amanda as a woman on fire for God, hungry for more, willing to encourage and challenge and never satisfied with the mediocre. You are such an inspiration, girlfriend! Thanks you for taking the time to bless us.
Over to Amanda:
Do you fear God?
This is a very difficult and interesting question. I want you to think long and hard, not just answer straight away. Be honest with yourself. You will be surprised at your answer….I was!
I was pondering on what I would write this month. I had some ideas, but every idea was just MY idea. I started to ponder sin and how we shy away from repentance, from telling people to repent, in fear of offending them; or in fear of being called judgmental.
Reading Lamentations, I came across a verse that inspired me to write this blog.
Your prophets courted you with SWEET TALK. (ouch)
They didn’t face you with your sin so that you could repent. (double ouch)
Their sermons were all wishful thinking, deceptive illusions. (I am bowing my head now, in shame) Lamentations 2:14 MSG
“Christianity” or “the Church” has become a mere institution that smooths over sin and make you feel good. We like to SWEET TALK. We hear confessions, we tell people to repent and we pray with them, but most of the time we don’t keep them accountable, we move on to the next person or the next thing. It is time that we stop the smooth talking or SWEET TALKING, start preaching repentance, hold each other accountable and most of all, have people that we, as preachers, are accountable to. We need someone to keep us accountable, so that after repenting, we do not slip into that sin again. When you have a weakness, the enemy will use it against you time and time again.
It is so easy to enter into a place where we silence the voice of the Holy Spirit when HE is convicting us of our sin. We measure our sin against the sin of others and think “at least my sin is not as bad as theirs”. I am going to burst your bubble here…by missing the mark you have committed sin. Sin is sin in God’s eyes. If you can still hear the whispers of the Holy Spirit convicting you of your sin, see that as a good thing, because then you have the opportunity to repent of your sin. There will come a time when the voice of the Holy Spirit becomes quieter and quieter, until it is gone…SILENT. This does not mean that God chose to abandon you, but that you have been granted your wish and by your own choice, you have been given over to your sin.
So I let them follow their own stubborn desires, living according to their own ideas. (Ps 81:12)
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. (Rom 1:24)
We think that if you love someone, you overlook his sin and agree with him. By ignoring someone’s sin, you believe you are showing him that he is loved and accepted. This concept is utterly wrong, for if you loved your brother or sister you would warn them of their sin and tell them to repent of it, even if you face the possibility of offending the person or even offending other people by doing it. Warning people of their sin is not judging, it is correcting. We need to correct people in order to keep them from eternal damnation. If you truly love someone, you would not want them to face eternal damnation. We have to be bold and rebuke those who sin and be willing to except correction ourselves. By correcting someone, you just might contribute to saving his soul. If we are not bold in rebuking in love, we could be responsible for suppressing the truth, which could mean eternal death instead of eternal life for that person.
Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. (James 5:20)
The disciples preached repentance because the Kingdom of God is near. Jesus healed people, but HE commanded them to “sin no more”…in other words, to repent from their sin and not to do it again.
What is repentance?
Repentance is acknowledging your sin and turning away from that sin, but it does not stop there. It has to include changing, or renewing, your mind.
So repentance in its totality means to have a total change of mind about that sin, so that the renewed mind will steer you in the opposite direction, away from it.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
What has driven us to this place of needing soothing words?
Our egos drove us to this place…our pride drives us to long for this. As long as we are seen, as long as we are accepted, as long as we … (you fill in the blank). We like to have “our ears tickled”.
Where did everything go wrong?
I was pondering this question for a few days…thinking it through, and I came to the conclusion that it all went terribly wrong when we lost our reverential fear of God. Moses told the Israelites not to fear, but that the fear of God will go before them.
Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of Him may be before you, that you may not sin.” (Exodus 20:20)
According to this verse, as long as you do not fear that which comes against you or is around you, but you fear God with a reverential fear, you will be able to withstand sin.
The Hebrew word “yare” means “to fear, be afraid, or to revere.” It also means “stand in awe, to have a deep respect or honor.”
In Greek the word fear is, “phobe” it means to “put to flight by terrifying, to flee, or be afraid” but could also mean “reverence and to hesitate.”
When we are told to fear God, we are commanded to have a deep, abiding respect for Him, which includes a holy, reverential fear or honor of Him, because He is able to cast both body and soul into hell (Matt 10:28). Jesus told His followers that persecution would be coming (Matt 10:16-25), not to fear man, but to fear only God because only God has the ability to cast both the body and the soul into hell and that “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31).
The Bible teaches us that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of ALL wisdom.
The beginning of wisdom is the awe of Lord Jehovah and the knowledge of the Righteous Ones is understanding; (Proverbs 9:10)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)
We have to return to a place of having a reverential fear of the Lord, where we would rather offend people or be hated and persecuted by people, rather than to stand against the HOLY ONE. When we have a reverential fear of God, we will want to do what is right. We will want to please HIM, and that includes repenting from our sin and allowing HIM to change our minds accordingly.
Satisfying the flesh has become so easy and gives us pleasure or a sense of accomplishment. In the end our spirit dies because we have lost our fear of God.
God is love, God is merciful, God is grace…but one thing that we should always remember is God is to be feared with reverence.
Unfailing love and faithfulness make atonement for sin. By fearing the LORD, people avoid evil. (Proverbs 16:6)
I asked God to give me an example of what it looks like to fear HIM and the Holy Spirit reminded me of my dad. My friends would go out to the disco (clubs for those who don’t know) and invite me to go with them, but I refused. I had too much respect for my dad. I was so afraid of getting caught in a place like that and then my dad would have to bail me out. Just thinking of the disappointment I would cause kept me from going. This is how it should be with Daddy God.