By Pedro Martinez
“So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in he fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.” (Acts 9:31)
For a church planter, his task is one full of passion and hope, and yet one of fear. This fear is necessary! However, it is not the kind of fear that comes from our doubts and worries, but the one, solitary fear we are all called to have: “the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps 111:10).
When Isaiah saw the Lord of Hosts, he cried, “Woe to me!” as he acknowledged he was unclean before a holy God (Isa 6:5). When John saw God, He fell to the ground as if he were dead (Rev 1:17b).
Why should it be any different today? The Scriptures don’t ever suggest a god that can be controlled. While there is always more to learn about God, we must first start by understanding that He is in control.
God sent an angel to touch Isaiah’s mouth and remove his sin (Isa 6:6-7). For John, God touched him, saying: “Do not be afraid, I am the first and the last” (Rev 1:17). God was reminding John of an important truth: now that you have met Me, you have nothing else to fear.
What does it mean to have a healthy understanding of the fear of God? To fear God is to take Him seriously, rather than casually.
Unfortunately, most people, even most Christians, take God casually today. They use His Name to say grace and they might even go to church on Sunday. Yet, when God calls for high commitment they would rather not get involved.
In Psalm 128:1, it reads, “Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.”
God promises His blessing to those who fear the Lord. The other day while driving on the highway I noticed a police car next to me. As a result, I found myself removing my foot from the gas pedal, turning down the volume on the radio and using every safety feature in the vehicle. About two miles down the road, the policeman exited the highway. So, I returned to my normal habits behind the wheel. What had happened? I had changed my conduct while driving in light of his presence around me. To fear God is to live in light of His ever-constant presence in our lives.
So how do you know if you fear the Lord? It will be evident in your walk. You will walk in His ways. We fear the Lord with our feet, not our feelings; with our lives, not with our lips. As you walk in His ways, there are three blessings He promises: He will look out for your fortune, feelings and future (Psalm 128:2). After dealing with self, the Psalmist suggests that the first ones who will notice your fear of God is your family. It should bring a change in my spouse and in my children. The enemy attacks the family because he knows whoever holds the family holds the future.
Psalm 128 starts with the individual, moves to the family and then on to the community of faith and finally the nation. The apostles in Acts understood this. They recognized the importance of walking in the fear of the Lord. This was, and still is, a key to the church living out its potential and multiplying wherever it goes (Acts 9:31).
Pedro Martinez is the church planting pastor of ADV Yahweh in Severn, Md. He can be reached by email at [email protected] and by phone or text at (410) 533-8767.