In my bible reading this morning, I came across a verse that convicted, as well as encouraged me in my strive for holiness. As I read through a couple chapters of the book of Proverbs, this verse somehow jumped out and stabbed me in the heart...
"The fear of the LORD [is] to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate." (Proverbs 8:13)
It simply convicted me that the more inclined I am to following the evil way, the less fearful I am of the Lord! The verse clearly states that "fearing the LORD" is equal to "hating evil!" I have always believed that this fear of the Lord is necessary. I've even made a post about this here. Yet, now that I stumbled upon Proverbs 8:13, I realized that the more I allow myself to commit a sin in my daily walk with the Lord, the more it would become evident in my life that I might not actually be hating evil but loving it.
I never want to lose my fear of the Lord! The bible teaches that it is important for a man to fear the Lord because it will be the beginning of wisdom and knowledge (Prov. 9:10, Prov. 1:7). And without wisdom and knowledge, one may only be summed up into one state of being - a FOOL!
As a christian who claims to know the Lord Jesus Christ, I am required to keep in my heart the Fear of the Lord (or in other words, the Hate for Evil things). 2 Peter 1:5-7 shows us what we need to have in our lives instead...
"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity."
The Word of God explains why we need to have all these godly characters instead of loving what is evil. He tells us in 2 Peter 1:8-9 that if we do confess that we know the Lord Jesus Christ, our testimony will not be empty or stagnant.
"For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."
(2 Peter 1:8-9)
It seems so difficult for me to practice the above mentioned characters in my life all the time, but I found an encouragement in the Word of God on how exactly to do it. Proverbs 23:17 tells us this:
"Let not thine heart envy sinners: but [be thou] in the fear of the LORD
all the day long."
It's a relief to know that God is aware of it being a constant battle, that is why He has encouraged (and given us a tip) on how to overcome. He has made sure that we know how important it is to be in the fear of the Lord, ALL THE DAY LONG! He didn't say just in the morning, or every now and then during the day. He clearly stated that we should CONTINUALLY BE in the fear of the LORD, ALL DAY LONG!
So how do we know that we are in the fear of the Lord? The bible shows us the following evidences:
"He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD:
but [he that is] perverse in his ways despiseth him." (Proverbs 14:2)
"The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble." (Proverbs 19:23)
"By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD [men] depart from evil." (Proverbs 16:6)
Not only is the fear of the LORD a motivation for us to depart from evil, it allows us to rest in His presence from the troubles that this world brings! That is really a blessing to have. Not everyone is able to rest content and untouched, unaffected by the many troubles the world brings to us in this life.
Now, remember I said that those that don't fear the Lord are considered foolish? I can say so because Proverbs 14:9 makes it clear for us...
"Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous [there is] favour."
A foolish person never really takes sin seriously. He laughs about it day in and day out. He never considers its weight. He treats sin with ridicule. It doesn't really make him cringe or anything because it's all just a harmless joke for him. But this is outrageously dangerous, my friend, because Proverbs 15:9 clearly warns us that "the way of the wicked [is] an abomination unto the LORD".
How do we know then, that we are living foolishly? Here's a list I've come up with that might help identify the FOOL in us:
1) A fool is one who is easily angered/quick-tempered and rages. (Proverbs 14:16-17)
2) A fool does not listen to his father's instructions. (Proverbs 15:5)
3) A fool brings trouble and shame to his/her parents. (Proverbs 17:25)
4) A fool enrages the Lord with his sinful ways. (Proverbs 19:3)
5) A fool's thoughts is focused on sin. (Proverbs 24:9)
6) A fool blames God for everything. (Psalm 74:22)
7) A fool focuses on having abundance in this life. ( (Luke 12:18)
8) A fool does not believe God IN HIS HEART. He may profess that He believes in God but his words, his actions shows otherwise. (Psalm 53:1)
9) A fool does not LISTEN to the Word of God and believes that he is not doing anything wrong. (Proverbs 12:15)
10) A fool is one who does not believe in the LORD JESUS CHRIST and does not build his life upon Jesus. (Matthew 6:26-27)
So, do we have any of the above signs and symptoms of foolishness? Let us then go back to living all the days of our lives in the fear of the LORD. No Fools are allowed in the Kingdom of God!
Take care always and Be blessed!