It’s that time of year again, where otherwise sane people make insane promises to themselves, which they will break within days.
I’m talking about New Year’s resolutions. And even if you haven’t publicly declared one, you know that in the back of your mind, you reminded yourself to lose weight, get more organized, stop yelling at your kids, spend more time with your pet, etc.
I’ve fallen prey to these empty promises before, sometimes publicly, sometimes privately.
And there’s nothing wrong with trying to better yourself. But I think it’s the approach and rationale that need a readjustment.
Instead of focusing on me pursuing the narrow-minded, self-centered things I want, I’m going to try to focus on the bigger picture. And I’ve decided on a meta-resolution, the resolution that covers all the others.
This year, I’m going to fear the Lord more.
No, this doesn’t mean I’ll be cowering in a corner, freaking out in the presence of a holy God who terrifies me. Well, maybe sometimes.
But in large, I’m thinking “fear” in the biblical sense.
I’ve been studying the fear of the Lord in the past few months, and I’ve learned a lot about what it is and isn’t. A book that’s done a lot to help me understand this is When People are Big and God is Small by Edward T. Welch.
Here’s what I’ve learned about the fear of the Lord: It’s more about reverential awe, recognition of overwhelming holiness, profound humility in light of who he is, and “reverent submission” (Welch 97). It’s recognizing the power and glory of the King of the Universe, who is all seeing, all knowing, all present, and incredibly loving.
But it’s not a terror that gives me a knee shaking fear of punishment and God’s wrath. Perfect love drives out that kind of fear (1 John 4:18). Because I belong to Jesus, God’s wrath towards my sin was poured out on Jesus on my behalf, once and for all, on the cross.
For those who desire to make better decisions in the New Year, the fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10).
If you want to make healthy choices this year, ideally to have a longer life, fear the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:2).
Keep in mind that the fear of the Lord isn’t a tool to achieve your selfish ambitions for the year, but it can be a means to achieve those that are godly.
It’s a shift in priorities and perspective. Instead of wanting to be skinny, by fearing God, you desire his will for your body and gain his wisdom on how to best steward it. Yes, you might lose weight, but it’s for all the right reasons and in the right way.
I’m excited to study this more in the bible and through other books on the topic. I’ve already started reading the Book of Revelation, and the resurrected Jesus in all his power and majesty blows me away.
I’d love to share this journey with others who are interested in joining me this year. Please let me know if you’ve learned or are learning anything about the fear of the Lord that you’d like to pass along.