I'm copying my column from Live As If... because it made me cry and I wanted to share it here, too.
One of my all time favorite songs is "For I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I've committed unto Him against that day..." That is found in most hymnals even though it is such a very old song. So old, it is found in 2 Timothy 1:12. How sweet to have that deep confidence and that utter trust in the One who saves us from that most heinous day of judgement. There is another verse in that chapter that holds sweet assurance.
2Timothy 1:7 For God did not give a spirit of cowardice to us, but of power and of love and of self-control.
Other translations call it a "spirit of fear". Fear does not come from God, guess who it comes from? That old dragon who knows his time is drawing near, and he is getting angrier and angrier, but not more cunning. He just watches and listens and catches us when we are not looking at Jesus and looking down instead of up.
Paul is not talking about Fear of the Lord here. He is talking about that irrational (for Christians) fear that closes up our throats and gives us that adrenal rush of urgent flight when we come up against things we have a difficult time handling or don't even want to face in our daily living. Things like losing a job, or facing cancer in self or loved ones, uncertainty of the future. Satan uses those feelings we have and intensifies them with his whisperings creating more fear if we allow him to do so.
A synonym for fear is "awe".
"Awe1.a mixed feeling or reverence, fear and wonder caused by something majestic, sublime, sacred etc.2. the power of inspiring intense fear or fearful reverence.SYN- awe refers to a feeling of fearful or profound respect or wonder inspired by the greatness,superiority,grandeur etc of a person or thing and suggests and immobilizing effect. reverence is applied to a feeling of deep respect mingled with love for something one holds sacred or inviolable and suggests a display of homage, deference etc."
That is a lot stronger than what is usually meant when we hear, "Oh that is awesome!" How trite that word sounds next to its literal meaning. When we acknowledge Satan's whisperings with feelings of fear, we are actually giving him profound respect and to a lesser degree, homage and respect. We actually should have a healthy respect for the Devil because he rules the earth and is the prince of the air, (Eph 2:2) who sows disobedience.
When I am inspired with an intense feeling of wonder, peace, respect and a feeling of being tiny and insignificant when I look at a sun rise or sun set knowing that God designed this perfect artwork, is that just plain awe or reverential awe? Does that feeling of being insignificant put it into the "reverential awe" category?
I know it sounds as if I'm being facetious here, but I'm not. I think Fear of the Lord is categorized into two distinct parts. One is the respect and reverence that Christians give to our Father. The other is what will be felt by many unbelievers when they face the Great White Throne., that awful day of judgement. The first is action and the second is emotion. As Christians we are commanded to fear the LORD.
Jesus said in Luke 12:5
But I will warn you whom you should fear; fear the One who after the killing has authority to cast into Hell; yea, I say to you, Fear that One!
The trouble is, there are far too many who don't have a clue just how horrible Hell is. They joke about meeting their friends in Hell, they put cans of beer and packs of cigarettes in caskets because "Old Joe never went anywhere without a cigarette and he'll need them in Hell."
How ridiculous, we say. Yet, that is Satan's lie that many believe. Some hold back from committing to Jesus because they don't want to go where their loved ones won't be... they'd rather go to Hell with their spouse than to Heaven with a real Husband. May it not be so! Yet, it is. There is no fear of the LORD any more. This is why sin is rampant, and why we hear a "feel good" philosophy from the pulpit instead of the harsh truth of judgement. Amen? Amen.
You know what? When ever I think about going before the Throne of God I get tears in my eyes where I can hardly see--like right now. I think of all the times I've let Him down. I think of how I am absolutely nothing--like Paul says, a worm. And the only way I can even imagine myself before the Throne of God is behind the robe of Jesus.
To me, this robe is red with blood...
As I touch this robe so I can peek at God the Father, it is soft and comforting but the color reminds me so powerfully of what I have done to cause that blood to be there. Tears stream down my face and I can't stand up, my face falls to the ground and there is just no way I can even look into the Face of the Lord for I am so unworthy. At my touch to His robe, Jesus bends down and picks me up, holds me and turns back to the Father...yet, I still cannot look at the Father for I am too ashamed.
Jesus, holding me really close and very tightly, gently pushes my face to His chest and whispers in my ear, "It's okay, Gina. I claim you as My own." Only then do my tears dry up and as my feet touch the floor of this majestic Throne Room, my heart is light and I finally see the Face of my Beloved Father.
Tears well up again, and I fall to the ground again but not in shame but in true, full worship of the Living God. Worship that I can barely understand now in this physical body. The worship from a true and perfect heart with no thought of "how's the roast doing?" but with one mind and purpose to praise and glorify The Lord God Almighty, The Creator, The I AM, The Parter of Seas, the Provider of manna, The Pillar of Fire. The Raiser of Jesus Christ. And He knows me, little old Gina...Ach! The awesome wonderment of it all! Amen.