I am reading Bill Johnson’s book “Hosting the Presence.” I read it about a year ago and am reading it again and am amazed at how much I have changed. Do you ever feel like you look at something again and you see it for the first time? I pray you do. That means God is doing a mighty work in you. The day we stop learning is the day we need to take a long look in the mirror and spend some good old fashion “fear of the Lord” time with God. If you have read these posts before you are probably laughing right now or are picking your jaw up off the floor. “Did he say fear of the Lord?” Yep, sure did but guess what, it don’t mean what you think it mean. (country humor)
In the book “Hosting the Presence” Bill says something pretty profound about the day of Pentecost:
“This picture is similar to the picture given at Jesus’ baptism in that it was a violent activity from Heaven. It upset the powers that were accustomed to occupying that space. and in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit was released in the same way as Jesus’ baptism – this time upon His people instead of upon Jesus. It’s important to note that violence in the spiritual realm is always a peace-filled moment for His people. That’s how the Prince of Peace can crush satan under our feet (see Rom. 16:20). Another way to put it is every peace-filled moment you experience brings terror to the powers of darkness. Only in the Kingdom of God is peace a military tool.”
When I read this I starting thinking about fear and the “fear of the Lord.” Maybe you have heard teaching about how fear is actually reverence and all that, so I don’t want to rehash that concept. Let me take you on a little different journey. To understand what God says we need to know who God is. Logos word is His nature. Rhema word is what He says. In this case the Logos of God says He is good, loving, caring…our Father. So what does “fear of the Lord” look like from that perspective?
One definition of fear is: a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. I think that is what is in our heads when we hear the word fear. The Greek word for fear is Phobos from which we get the word phobia. The definition of phobia is: a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it. The word Phobos is from Greek mythology and is: a son and attendant of Ares and the personification of a fear held to possess armies and cause their defeat. So add all that up and what do you get? Doesn’t sound like the loving God and Father we know, right? So maybe we need to defeat some lies and embrace some truth.
Sometimes the enemy plants thoughts in our heads through teaching, experience, life examples, something we read, etc. Maybe you have an image of God as like a really big giant. You are standing there next to this giant and aren’t even a tall as his toe. Now the giant begins to move. Maybe in your mind this giant is clumsy and steps on you so you are afraid. God isn’t clumsy. His big fat fingers put the quarks in the neutrons that make up your molecules in the cells of your muscles that make up your heart that keeps beating so you have blood and oxygen to feed your brain so you can read this post. Maybe you see this giant as unaware of your tiny person. God isn’t unaware of you. He knit you together in your mother’s womb. He had dreams and visions of you before your mother’s mother’s mother’s great great great grandma was born. Maybe this giant is angry and just stomps around and you get in between his angry foot and the ground. Wrong again. God isn’t angry at you or any of us humans. He is angry at the enemy and the lies that are spread. He is angry that you have been deceived and led down wrong paths, but He CAN’T be angry at you. Jesus took away anything that could possibly make Him angry. Not only that but He Himself has been poured out over all creation and He already won the victory so why would He be mad? The devil is not even a bump in the road for God. Maybe this giant is too busy looking at giant stuff and forgets you are there and, oops, steps on you by accident. Not God. He knows everything about you. He knows all your hairs and stuff. He takes perfect care of the lesser creatures and couldn’t possibly forget about you. Are you getting the picture?
So what is the “fear of the Lord” God is talking about? I think this is an awesome definition of Phobos in the HELPS word study: 5401 phóbos (from phebomai, “to flee, withdraw”) – fear (from Homer about 900 bc on) 5401 (phóbos) meant withdrawal, fleeing because feeling inadequate (without sufficient resources, Abbott-Smith). Did you see it? INADEQUATE. I really like that one. Think about it. In the presence of God our effort is so inadequate compared to the perfect goodness of God. As a matter of fact I suspect if your definition of “fear of the Lord” includes some measure of a personal behavior improvement program, you are fooling yourself. Good luck trying to measure up to the standard of the perfect one. If you are a prideful person then the presence of God is not the place you want to hang out. He makes you feel small. If you are living from Jesus’ humility, then His presence is confirmation of how amazing Jesus really is and how unbelievable it is to have a Father who cares so much for you that He would go so far to prove it. Come on! Let’s get some “fear of the Lord.” I love feeling inadequate in His presence. It reminds me that my effort by myself will never get it done. It makes me even more hungry for more of Him! We get to host the most loving God and His presence in, around and upon us makes us more than adequate for every task. Isn’t that awesome?