I’ve Come Full Circle
Read Job Chapter 23
Job 23:13 “But He stands alone, and who can oppose Him? He does whatever He pleases. 14 He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans He still has in store. 15 That is why I am terrified before Him; when I think of all this, I fear Him. 16 God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me.
Where is the fear of God today? In one sense, Christians should not be subject to fear of our Lord. We are saved; we are His children. We have a secure eternal future because of the atonement work which Christ has done on the cross. Job had the utmost confidence in God. Despite all of his troubles, he vowed to remain true to God. He chose to decide that none of his woes were going to prevent him from worshiping and serving God. Despite that, in this passage he acknowledged that he was terrified before the Lord. Job had a fear of God; a healthy fear of God.
Where is that fear today in the hearts of Christians? There are very few of us who are afraid of God. Personally, I know that my future is secure in Christ. Nevertheless, I have a healthy fear of God. I know that when I go astray, His disciplines are not pleasant. But I also know they are for my benefit. I know that He has my best interests at heart whenever He acts in any way to change my life or devise plans for my life. I am confident in that. But I fear God.
1. I am afraid to disobey Him. – I have experienced some severe disciplines the last few times that I willingly ignored His message about homosexual behaviors. Each time, the disciplines became more intense. I don’t want to see the next level of His discipline.
2. I know that He has complete and ultimate power over every aspect of my life. He has already set the date when I will leave this earth. He has the power to prevent me from suffering any long, difficult illness before I go. But I know that whatever happens will have a good purpose. Everything He plans has a worthy purpose. Even knowing that, I fear what might lie ahead for the remainder of my life. Will I have to care for an invalid spouse? Will I become invalid and she will have to care for me?
Job had the same kinds of thoughts. He had already suffered greatly at the time he stated these fears. He had no idea what else lay ahead of him. It is not unusual for Christians to undergo feelings of fear about God and His plan for their lives.
The main point for today will be in connection to the first of these two fears. Where is the fear of God’s disciplines as it applies to sins today? As we look around us in our society, we see all sorts of Christians going about their daily lives, having no apparent fears over their sins. Gay men and women claiming to be Christians are openly defying God by having same-sex sexual relationships. They do not fear God’s retribution. Men are unconcerned over how they are living their lives; unconcerned over all sorts of different kinds of sins.
Can I make a confession here? I have feared God’s disciplines all my life – especially during my childhood and those early years – the seven years when I was living in open rebellion against God’s instructions. At every turn, I was looking over my shoulder, wondering when and where God was going to call me to account. He did not administer any of His disciplines until much later in life, when I was older and wiser, and should have been much too spiritually mature to go off track.
1Pe 1:17 Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.
I used to think that was a bad thing to fear the Lord. I used to rant and rail against all the preachers and teachers who I believed had caused me to fear God. Now I know that it is a good thing to fear the Lord. Now I realize that it was the Holy Spirit who was living within me, constantly warning me against my sinfulness. Today I thank Him that He has been faithfully turning me against those things which were destined to destroy me. Because of Him, I now pursue sexual purity.
Prayer: Well, Lord, here it is again. Thank You. Additionally, we continue to ask that Your Spirit place fear into the hearts of all Christians who are living contrary to You will, whether that involved SSA or some other type of sinfulness. Bring all Your children back into Your house.