Fear of God Devotional: When Pastors Struggle with Fear of Man

What happens when pastors struggle with the fear of man?

Paul Thompson shares an example from his own life where, because of his obedience to God, certain things occurred that negatively impacted his reputation within the community.

Through this experience, God showed him that he was concerned more about his reputation rather than being grateful for God’s blessings. God was feeding, clothing, and providing everything he needed. God alone was sufficient. God also revealed how foolish it was to try to be a protector of his own reputation. Instead of seeking to protect his reputation, he ought to have proclaimed the truths of Scripture no matter the consequences, even if his reputation suffered as a result.

Though it was a humbling experience, he realized how futile it was to try to take it into his own hands to protect his own reputation, and was thankful for God mercifully steering him back to the truth.

Proverbs 29:25 (NKJV) – “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”

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Utterly Worthless

In the first three verses of 1 Cor 13:1-3, Paul makes it clear that without love you are nothing. You can have the most biblical church and its worth nothing. You can embrace sound doctrine and defend it to the death and its worth nothing. You can be the most gifted person in town and its worth nothing. You can have the best missions program and its worth nothing. You can have the best outreach and its worth nothing. You can go to an abortion clinic, a rest home, and draw hundreds and even thousands and its worth nothing. You can evangelize and street preach and drive home your point and preach a true gospel, and its worth nothing.

We can think well of ourselves because of what we do, and these words in 1 Cor 13:1-3 are standing in the way to say, “wait a minute… but do you love?

Our Lord Jesus came for love – to make a father, a loving father; a worker, a loving worker; a church member a loving church member…

Here’s the problem: loving people and using people can look the same on the outside. Doing righteous things out of love, and doing them without love can look the same on the outside. Do you have love?

Here is the bottom line: ordinary love, is more important than extraordinary gifts. Giftedness without love is worthless. And, external gifts do not prove inward grace. Giftedness does not prove salvation. This is why Jonathan Edwards says good works are like a beautiful garment you put on that does not change you, but only alters your appearance.

But, love is more excellent.

Without love we are nothing.

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Fear of God Devotional: The Fear of God in Purchasing Cars

How does the fear of God apply to various aspects of everyday life?

Craig Houston explains in this video that the fear of God should influence all aspects of our life, even our vehicle purchases. When making such a purchase, one who fears God must determine how to be a wise steward of the money that God has given him.

In contrast, a person who fears man would only consider what his friends would think instead of pondering what God would have him to do. Fearing man can paralyze us. We fear men so much that whatever we wear, speak, and do, we do it all in the name of pleasing men and live in constant worry, wondering if we’re living up to their varying standards. This “fear” is misplaced – instead of wondering what your friends would say or think, prayerfully seek to always please God in all things.

Ephesians 5:15-17 (NKJV) – “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Is Lack of Giving Connected with Lack of the Fear of God?

How can we increase in the fear of the Lord?

In this video, Gary Powers explains that one way we can increase our fear of God is through our giving to a local church, the returning of a tithe to the Lord. It was implemented to teach God’s people to fear Him always. In America today, there sadly is a lack of individuals who tithe – could it be connected with a similar lack of the fear of God?

We ought to view tithing as giving to a sovereign God, returning that which is His, as a way of demonstrating our gratitude to Him. Tithing is a recognition that everything we receive from God is from Him alone, a gracious and merciful Priest and King.

Proverbs 3:9-10 (NKJV) – “Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.”

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Fear of God Devotional: When Church Leaders Do Not Fear God

What happens when leaders of the church do not fear God as they ought?

Mala Chindongo explains in this video that one problem in the church is that often, church leaders start with an inward focus and wrongly believe that everything is all about themselves. Instead of fearing God, they have no fear of God and instead, pursue the things that build themselves up.

Yet, when the whole ministry becomes about the pastor, anyone who stands in the way is seen as a threat. Thus, the entire church is tainted by this prideful church leader. So many negative consequences result because the pastor was looking at the church as his “project” instead of realizing it that it is God’s church and fearing Him.

James 4:6 (NKJV) – “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”

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Fear of God Devotional: The Fear of God and Understanding the Bible

How can one grow in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding?

Craig Houston explains in this video that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. In contrast, fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:9). This fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, the beginning of having an understanding of the truth of God’s Word. We should all strive to increase our love and our study of God’s Word – it is better than silver or gold.

In chapter 9 of Proverbs, there is a similar passage – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10, NKJV). From this verse, we see that knowledge, wisdom, and understanding are each rooted in that fear of God. Isn’t that all the more reason to fear God, the Creator of the universe, the almighty, omnipotent God?

Proverbs 1:5 (NKJV) – “A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel”

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How the Love of God Is Perfected in You

Its often easy to tell where people are from based on how they talk. John is making a very similar point in 1 John 2:3-8. Jesus makes a different kind of person. God teaches His children to think differently, talk differently, walk differently, react differently. It is tangible. It shows where they are from. John is making it clear that the greatest earthly blessing that human beings can experience is to be delivered from ourselves, and become a person who is quite unlike us. This is what God does. He calls us out of ourselves and into Him. And when this happens, He begins to perfect us in love. He brings us a superior life. He blesses us with better promises. He brings a better covenant. He calls us to live by better commands. To exist in this state is what it means to know Him and be in Him and to abide in Him – truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him – the love of God is being perfected.

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Fear of God Devotional: Why We Fear God

How do we grow in our fear of God?

Jason Dohm explains that most people don’t choose the things they fear – rather, fear is normally a response to something. Similarly, the fear of God is also a natural response that comes about when we understand who God is. We grow in our knowledge and understanding of God from reading the Bible and learning what He is like.

We are ignorant of what God is like until we go to His revealed Word and He shows us what He is like. Once He does, the fear of God naturally results. The more we grow in our knowledge of God, the more we fear Him. Put simply, we can’t increase our fear of God without increasing our knowledge of God. This fear of God is stimulated when we understand who God truly is.

Romans 11:33 (NKJV) – “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!”

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Fear of God Devotional: The Fear of the Lord in Culture

How was the fear of God present in early America?

Carlton McLeod explains that the fear of the Lord impacts culture. It did at one point in America. The fear of the Lord produced a society that honored God’s name, that honored pastors, elders, the home. These characteristics were present even in non-church goers.

By and large, the church was very home and family-centered. God’s Word was honored. There was more respect for elders. There was a certain decorum in dress. The fear of the Lord was embedded in the culture at large. However, we have since lost the blessing of having a culture that acknowledged that there is a God that will one day judge them for their actions.

Revelation 15:4 (NKJV) – “Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested.”

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Fear of God Devotional: When Pastors Fear Man

What does it look like when a pastor fears man more than he fears God?

Clarence Simmons explains that this kind of pastor will shun away from certain truths. He will only preach certain things to appease his congregation. He will never preach something that would upset an influential member of the congregation. Why do they do this? No one likes controversy and we all want to be liked. No one wants to be hated.

Yet, when we preach, our focus cannot be on our congregation. Rather, it must be on God alone. No matter how the congregation reacts, we cannot cater our message to them at the expense of compromising Scriptural truths. If we do that, the fear of man becomes the moving instrument in one’s ministry and not the fear of God. We are to preach the Word of God regardless of what men might say because it is God’s Word.

Proverbs 29:25 (NKJV) “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”

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New Testament Survey – 1st & 2nd Peter – Listen Live at 5:00pm EST

As we are seeking to be refreshed by the early church we encounter Peter who desires his readers to recognize how they are kept by the power of God. Peter is writing to a despised and persecuted people. On July 19, 64AD, a fire broke out in Rome. The flames licked up large parts of the city and both mansions and hovels were destroyed. The fires burned for three days and three nights. There were rumors that Nero had his men all over town trying to hinder people from putting out the fires. Nero identified a scapegoat – the Christians. A savage outbreak of persecution ensued. Peter brings practical instruction to those who are suffering the fires of persecution. While he gives them much practical instruction, his main message is that they will be kept by the power of God. In his second letter, Peter is concerned about the progress of false teachers. He instructs the church what will happen to the false teachers and how they ought to respond. 

Listen Live @ 5:00PM EST

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Fear of God Devotional: What Happens to a Country When Civil Magistrates Do Not Fear God

When leaders of a nation do not fear God, the results are disastrous.

Mala Chindongo illustrates this idea by explaining how in Malawi, the economy is in shambles. Millions of people are struggling just to make ends meet. He explains that the reason why this happened is because Malawi had leaders who did not fear God.

The leaders were involved in financial corruption and they and their people have suffered the consequences.

If only they feared God and believed that He is omnipresent and omniscient and that nothing they do, even in secret, would be hidden, things would be much different. Yet, we are sadly seeing the harvest of what evil leaders have sown many years prior.

Are we setting a good example of fearing God for those around us?

Psalm 146:3-4 (NKJV) – “Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day his plans perish.”

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I Just saw the Film, Polycarp

Our family watched this recently…Polycarp.  I highly recommend it.  If you have small children, here is my recommendation: watch the film and then read the following books on Polycarp, Ireneaus of Lyons and Ignatius and to your children.

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Fear of God Devotional: The Fear of God and Personal Boldness

How does the fear of God give us the courage to stand up to evil men?

Craig Houston shares Proverbs 28:1, which says: “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” He explains that this passage relates to the fear of God. When you fear God, it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, you can stand. You can be as bold as a lion.

There are numerous examples of men and women who feared God more than man and were even willing to die because they would not disobey or dishonor God. For instance, Daniel was willing to be thrown into the den of lions because he would not obey a wicked king. He trusted that God was able to protect him. Instead of fearing what man could do to him, he feared God more and went and prayed in the window three times a day.

We need to be Christians who fear God, are as bold as a lion, and are unwilling to bow down to today’s culture in disobedience to God.

Ephesians 6:12-13 (NKJV) – “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

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The Fear of God and Church Beauty

Here is Christ’s tenderness and compassion towards His people in their guilt from sin.

 John is speaking of what makes a true church. What makes a church happy and humble and sweetly composed before God? He answers How do you get the junk out of a church; how God purifies His church; How God humbles His church so that they are not puffed up; How He keeps His church from legalism; How the church roots out sin? How the Lord keeps His church keep from being fake? 

This passage displays a beautiful picture of church life. It is a life of, confession, forgiveness and cleansing. It’s center of this beautiful life is relationship with the Advocate, Jesus Christ the righteous. His sacrifice appeased the wrath of God (propitiation). It is a fellowship of truth tellers instead of liars. There is no deception. It is a place of glorifying the Father instead of making Him a liar.

He does all these things through confession of sin:  “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,”  1 John 1:9.

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