16. Fear and Trust
Faith comes out of the true fear of God. I hold to Him absolutely because I regard nothing else. The fear of God produces faith that is bold. - The answer to all things is TRUST. And trust is a relationship between one who is in need and One who carries all things, and especially me and those whom I love, inside Himself.
16. Fear and Trust
This morning, as I sat down to write, I found this question in my inbox.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. What does the word fear mean, are we to be afraid of God? How can people trust Him and come to Him in trust if they are afraid?”
There are two kinds of fear, accusing fear, and regarding fear. Many will look at God with an accusing fear. They have defined Him as the bad guy, as the one responsible for all their misery, the one who threatens to destroy them even though they ‘haven’t done anything bad.’ These ‘believe in God,’ yes, but it is a belief centered in self-pity. This so-called fear separates from God and is of the evil one.
Then there is the regarding fear, as a wise and just king does not tolerate those who hurt and steal from the innocent, so robbers and murderers are afraid of such a king. The good people living under his protection also fear this king, not because they are afraid he will harm them, but because they see he is wise and just and will not allow hurt in his kingdom. If a timid soul thinks of stealing, he hesitates and draws back because he fears the king, and so he is kept from evil.
This regarding fear is the beginning of wisdom, it is not wisdom. It is the doorway that sets you on the path to wisdom. Christ our life is wisdom – Jesus is made unto us the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:30
For many years, I walked in the fear of God, and in a sense, I still do. By that, I do not mean that I was afraid that He would ‘get’ me if I ‘did something bad.’ I have always known His grace and mercy and have always sought it. Yet, that action itself is the fear of God, for why would I seek His mercy if I did not highly regard Him? Because I regarded God, I devoted my life to seeking Him.
There were times, however, when I was tempted to go a different way, to reach for something I wanted, even though I knew it was not God’s path for me. This happened more than once, dramatically. I chose against myself because God spoke to me that He would take my life rather than allow me to walk a path that was not His for me. This was not a debilitating fear, it was a certain knowledge of God’s call on my life, that His choice of me was so certain, and His jealous love over me was so fierce, that He would not share me with His enemy, but would take me to Himself instead. In those times, I was greatly humbled and emptied.
Those were big things, but how many times have I reached for little things and heard, after I had committed myself, the Lord say, “No!” I certainly have fussed and whined, but He never changes His mind. When He says “No,” He never stops saying “No,” until I submit. And so I have humbled myself, and returned the thing I had purchased or surrendered the thing I had tried to hold onto or gone and made amends. I no longer put up a fuss when God says, “No.”
But what was once the fear of God for me has turned into the absolute certainty that I am in His hand, that He has chosen me, and that He will finish the work He has begun inside of me.
God spoke to me at age 19 that marriage was His will for me. Five years later He spoke to me who my wife would be. Then it was nine more long years before I stood to watch her come down the aisle to stand by my side. For seven of those years I had waited simply for the ability to talk with her. And my desire to be married was in my heart every single day of those fourteen years of waiting.
In the sharing service before our wedding, I told the family of God with whom we lived that there was one thing I knew: “God does what He says He will do.”
So let’s combine these two certainties. The certainty that God’s jealousy over me is such that He will take my life rather than allow me to follow a path that would take me to destruction. And the certainty that God does what He says He will do. I am seized in the grip of His determination and ALL that He has said concerning me He will do. This is the fear of God.
But it is not wisdom; it is only the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom is found in Christ as my life. Wisdom is this absolute certainty that everything I am He carries utterly inside of Himself and that everything He is, He is in me, in every part of my human person. Wisdom is the absolute certainty that He is my life, and that I have no other life. Wisdom is the communion of fellowship that I enjoy with the person of Jesus who resides in every part of me, living right now as me in this world. Wisdom is the breast upon which I lean my head.
Let’s take a verse like Romans 8:29. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son . . .” Those who do not fear God at all do not regard such a statement, but hold it as pure rubbish. Those who fear God in a twisted, whiny way will say, “He loves me, He loves me not.” And out of that twisted religious fear of God comes one of the most ridiculous theological debates in all history, “Did God decide beforehand who would go to heaven and who would go to hell?”
But to those who fear God in truth, this verse can say only one thing. “From the very beginning, God determined that I would be just like Jesus. He has seized me in the grip of His determination, and it is impossible that I would be anything but fully like Jesus.”
But I am willing to go further with that than most believers. Most believers say, “Yes, someday, in the sweet by and by, we’ll be conformed to the image of Jesus.” That is not enough for me. The word God speaks into this earth and into this age must be fulfilled in this earth and in this age.
God will do it in me now, in my life here in this world. Yes, there is a further measure of grace that I have set my faith upon. A measure of grace not yet given, though I am convinced that the time of that grace is right now. And I hold in my heart with all certainty the faith that He will do it in me here. I want to see God win in me right here on this earth. I have no desire to see Him triumph in heaven. There is no glory in that because how could it be otherwise? But to see Him triumph in me, right here in this world of darkness and unbelief. To see His power come into union with my weakness. That is glory indeed.
Faith comes out of the true fear of God. I hold to Him absolutely because I regard nothing else. The fear of God produces faith that is bold. When someone is “afraid” of God so that they do not believe He has chosen them, they have not found the fear of God, but are living in a pitiful bondage to demon spirits of fear. These must be taken gently by the hand and led into the love of God for them.
But one who fears God does not ask the question, “Did God chose me or not?” No. There is no option for one who fears God. I believe with all boldness and certainty that I am seized in God’s determination. I do not need to have God tell me if He has chosen me or not. Absolutely not. Because the alternative, to be left dangling in uncertainty, is not an option for me.
I do not need to have Jesus tell me that I will stand by His side as He comes in His glory. Because the alternative, that I would miss out, that I would sit there and watch those who BELIEVED IN HIM embraced in the glory of His presence while I sit there, weeping, knowing, knowing, knowing, that absolutely nothing prevented me from being there with them, I just didn’t think it was important.
Such an alternative I cannot consider. It is unthinkable. And so I believe, with all my heart, that He will do in me all that is required. Yet I am weak. If my own discipline is what is required, then I cannot be with Him in that day. Oh, I’ll “be in heaven,” but that’s not what’s important to me.
Somehow, I got put on somebody’s mailing list who insists that God demands obedience and that we better get with it and obey what the word says. Jesus was nowhere inside their writing. “Do what God says, because God demands it, and He will judge you with wrath if you don’t obey.”
But even that eventually brings some to wisdom. That kind of fear of God is not wisdom, but it can lead to wisdom for those who are honest with themselves. Those who finally admit that if God requires ‘obedience,’ they are without hope. Yet where else do we turn? And so we come to Jesus and we say, “Jesus, I cannot fulfill what God requires. You are my life. Be what God wants inside of me.”
And that is wisdom.
God says, “You are dead.” Those who truly fear God believe what He says. “Okay. I am dead. That’s over with. Christ is my life. There is nothing else. He has taken upon Himself my human frame and He is living as me in this world.”
This morning I have a sense of being troubled. What I have to share may be a bit of a ramble. But there is so much on my heart and this blog is my sharing the journey the Lord Jesus has me on. He spoke to me once, “Give My people hope.” I had no ministry then and very little hope myself, so I did not understand what He meant.
We are on a path that few have ever traveled, and parts of where God has us none have been before, except Jesus. What are the reference points, what is the anchor, what star guides us?
I received an email that told me we must go beyond the Bible if we want to find life. I haven’t got to the end of the Bible yet to be ready to go beyond it. The Bible lays before me so much that is beyond wonderful that I have not yet experienced in all that it means.
There are those that say we must awaken to our christ consciousness or tune in to our inner christness and get away from idolizing this man, Jesus. They must be far stronger than I am; I would not know where to lean my head.
Everyone has chosen a place in which to stand. Everyone has chosen the rules by which they pursue or defend understanding and truth. This is entirely a personal decision. You have decided those two things for yourself already.
What is the anchor? What determines truth? How do we know the path on which to walk?
A brother who sees much the same as I keeps saying that we must still “die to the Adamic nature.” Where does he get that thought? The New Testament states that the Adamic nature is dead and buried. Nowhere does God state that I retain an Adamic nature. My humanity comes from the humanity of Jesus. I am His flesh. Another seems to want to limit the revelation of Jesus Christ to our present experience only. I read too many statements in the New Testament that blow way beyond such a limitation ever to be satisfied with my present experience.
Then I try to teach our union with Christ to my children and realize that I am once again doing what I did before, bending what God says in the New Covenant to fit my preconceived ideas. I choose not to do that. God says, “Let us therefore cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” He says, “He that has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure.” These things also are Christ and must be fulfilled in our lives.
I read those who want to explain away the concept and existence of evil and the judgment of God against iniquity. How can we know what is truth?
For me there is Jesus, and the New Covenant in His blood. If anyone is looking elsewhere, this might not be the right letter for them. Concerning Jesus, He redeemed me from unimaginable horror by His blood. His is the shoulder against which I lean my head; I am not wise enough or strong enough to be “the christ consciousness.” And He is the One before whom I will cast the crown of all that I am. Jesus is my Beloved; I love Him. To go beyond Jesus is like a wife going “beyond” her husband. Some may find that thrilling. It does not enter my mind.
Concerning truth. We could pick ten thousand things to be the determination of truth, the worst being the ruminations of our own minds. You have no idea how insane the world is, the madness and delusions that people hold to be truth with all their hearts. As the light is turned on, the depths of nonsense revealed in the darkness will be so shattering that many will lose their minds, they will have nowhere to turn.
I have made my own choice. For me, truth is that which God speaks in the New Testament. The Old Testament is useful only if I follow the directions given in the New Testament concerning how I use it. I did not sign the old contract, I signed the new. That new contract, which I signed when I was baptized in water, is binding on all things concerning God and concerning myself.
Truth is not determined by what I believe or understand or know or become aware of. Truth is what God says, which is Jesus, which is written down in the New Testament, which is known by a personal relationship with the person of the Holy Spirit who is in me for the purpose of causing me to know Jesus. But what is written in the New Testament is not what God spoke, as a letter on the page, it is what God is speaking into me right now; it is power and it is life.
God took me through a difficult passage over the last few weeks. Because it deals with people, I cannot share the particulars, only that what the Lord was after was the entanglements of emotion, the bonds that connected me in a false way to things from my past.
I will share that this passage involved some of the worst fear I have ever known, fear that contained a threat that could hit me at the most important place in my natural life, my family.
In the middle of that fear, in the middle of wondering what on earth is true and sound, in the middle of the night, as I lay open before the Lord, God spoke to me. He said, “Will you trust Me? — Will you trust Me utterly in all things?”
How many times have I sung the song in my heart with tears over the years, in the dark places, in the hard places. “Trust in the Lord with all of thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths.”
But on the path we are on, such truth is always found at a deeper and deeper level.
Always in the past there were other voices. “God is displeased with you.” “You have to measure up.” “You have to die to the flesh.” “God really doesn’t like you.” “God loves you, but . . .” And so I could trust Him only as one separate from Him, wanting and trying to be with Him.
I no longer “want and try” to be with Him. He is in me. I am in Him. All of my mistakes He bears inside Himself. All that I am is Jesus working out His salvation in me.
And so when I answered the Lord, “I trust You, My Father.” It was a casting of myself and all that pertains to me, including my family, utterly into His care.
I wrote on a post recently, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” This moment of answering the Father very much included that reality.
If there were no evil and the judgment of God upon wickedness, there would be no need for salvation. If we are all just awakening to our christness, then where is there a need for Blood?
But salvation utterly belongs to Jesus. He is the Savior. And He is working all salvation in me and through me and as me in this world. Not just as a theological premise or a future hope. But in the harsh reality of a world gone mad and prison and starvation and blood in the streets.
The answer to all things is TRUST. And trust is a relationship between one who is in need and One who carries all things, and especially me and those whom I love, inside Himself.
Trust is a complete casting of one’s self upon another. There are no strings still attached to anything else. Trust is utter and complete. Because He said so.
“I trust you, My Father. Let it be to me according to what You are speaking.”