Psalm 130:4 ESV
But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.
Romans 2:4 NLT
Don't you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can't you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
Philippians 1:21 NIV
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
. . .
When I read through Psalm 130, verse 4 literally jumped off the page. God has been really working on my heart in the area of fear lately - something that I am sure all Christian people wrestle with.
God is truly the only person worthy of our fear. I grew up hearing that we needed to fear God but never really understood what it meant. I knew that God was loving, so why would I need to be afraid of him. But now I can see that fear has a much deeper meaning than simply "to be afraid of something/someone".
I am so thankful that God doesn't strong-arm us into repentance and the kind of awe/reverence/fear that Psalm 130 (and much of the rest of the Bible) talks about. His kindness and grace toward us is what leads us into repentance; a heart change that results in us bowing down in worship to the ONLY ONE who is truly worthy!
For me, this is where Philippians 1:21 comes in. I was challenged this week to honestly consider the Truth that "to live is Christ and to die is gain". Here are some of the realities in my every day life that I am praying for God to change in me:
Unfortunately, the way I live my life on a daily basis reveals that I fear a lot of other people/things more than I fear the Lord. I fear rejection, change, disapproval, failure, conflict, confrontation, exhaustion...
Most of these fears are rooted in my deep fear of man. Do you struggle with this? It's commonly referred to as "people-pleasing" which doesn't sound so bad, right?
I have in no way mastered this issue. My heart still battles with this desire to fear others above my fear for God. But thankfully He is patient, and kind, and so gracious with me as He walks through this struggle - helping me to see daily that He is truly worthy of my fear. And ultimately, when Christ is on the throne of my heart, the only One I am fearing, the end result will always be gain. There is not other variation that ends in good.
I know this reflection is supposed to be on Psalm 130, but when I read verse 4, "But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared", I knew that I had to share what Jesus has been teaching me about fear through this powerful verse in Philippians.
. . .
So how would you fill this in?
What are your fears, or the things you value above Christ...and what is the end result?
To live is _____________ and to die is ________________.
Praying that we would all come to truly live out this truth today!
Christ is the only One worthy of our fear. He is SO good to us!!!