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May the Lord fill your life with the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

If God is not first in your life, then something else is (Deut 6:4-5, Matt 6:24, 33; 10:32-38, Mark 8:34, Luke 11:23, 1 John 5:21).

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Fear of the Lord is the foundation (beginning) of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (Proverbs 1:7)
Have you ever seen the “No Fear” sticker or clothing line? That expression, and its lifestyle, encourages one to be fearless. But based on the Proverb, it creates fools! It is the notion of being without fear that creates unlimited boundaries and this completely misleads one into believing that this is okay. After all, who wants to be bound and restricted when you want to let loose and have fun! Rest assured, that if you seek to satisfy the flesh you will be left behind in this world (Psalm 37). Cling to this life and lose it (Matthew 10:39, Luke 17:33)!
Read Psalm 111:10 and you see that wisdom and fear are rooted in obedience to His Commandments. The very truth is, we all fall short of being righteous so we all must fear God in order to walk straight (Nehemiah 5:15, Psalms 36:1; 66:16, Proverbs 16:6; 19:23, Acts 9:31; 13:16, Romans 3:9-18, 1 Peter 1:17, 1 Peter 2:17). This is not unlike the type of fear that a child has of their parent. It is not just a “shivering scared” type of fear but rather a fear rooted in reverence, respect and wanting to always please and satisfy.
I know many will read 2 Timothy 1:7 and say we are not to experience fear because there is no spirit of fear. This is very true! Paul was writing to Timothy about overcoming the fear and discouragement over spreading the Good News because Christians were being persecuted, especially Paul who was in jail at the time. Paul was reminding us to stand tall and fight the good fight and remain confident in Him. In fact, Philippians 4:6 and 1 John 4:18 expounds on this by reminding us how we can overcome the type of fear that paralyzes us and keeps us from being close to one another and trusting others. I know this firsthand! (see "Living Free" devotion below). But make no mistake here. Being fearless can equate to being foolish if it reflects a lack of understanding of eternity. In a world filled with selfish desires, time is irrelevant. Selfish people live for the moment and have disregard for the long-term consequences. This can clearly be seen in the economic environment we are in today: the result of greed, arrogance and self-driven ambitions. It is a “what have you done for me lately” and “what is in it for me” culture that all stems from this “No Fear” mentality. It is equivalent to the same “take the bull by the horns” and “get what you can” attitude.
Look around at people you see every day. Do most of them look happy? I see most people and see a negative, miserable look on their face that says, “I didn't get what I deserve in life.” What is so hard about being thoughtful, courteous, patient, and friendly? I suspect selfish, short-term thinking and entitlement has a lot to do with it. We simply have allowed ourselves to become blind to long-term consequences in exchange for instant gratification. If you have ever chewed Bazooka bubble-gum you know exactly what I am referencing. After about 2 minutes, when the sugar is gone, that piece of gum suddenly becomes thick enough to be used as wall putty! You now have to replace that wad of putty with a fresh piece of sugar-coated pleasure in order to satisfy the crave once again. We keep chasing one short-term pleasure one after the other because it is sin that surrounds us, and it is sin that directs us if we allow it.
Before we allow sin to dictate our lives we need to understand one important key concept. How long is eternity? Does 100 years seem like a long time to you? How about a 1,000 years? How about a billion years? Well, guess what? A billion years is not even a speck on the eternal time horizon!! Eternity means forever, and ever, and ever, and ever. It is infinity. There is no end in time! The question is, will you decide to live for the pleasure of sin or for the pleasure of God's grace? Again, do you want to live forever in Heaven or Hell? Are you afraid yet, or do you still have that “No Fear” attitude?
Let's consider another aspect. If you have ever been horribly sick you are probably like me and get grouchy because you just want it over so you can feel better again. So imagine feeling at your worse, and feeling like that day after day, week after week, year after year. Are you afraid yet? Well, that sick feeling that you are imagining is nothing like the feeling of being in Hell. Of course, we do not know what Hell is like but we are given an indication that it is like a lake of fire where people are constantly gnashing/grinding their teeth (Matthew 13:41-42, Luke 16:19-31). Are you afraid yet? If you are not, then indeed you are a fool.
Yes, God has unfailing love for us all and this love is represented in our salvation. It is a gift for us to take and not assume. We have to accept it and not take it for granted. You see, in tandem with His unconditional love is His unwavering fairness and justness. He has to be fair and just in order to provide unconditional love. So if we deny and reject Him in our lives He will deny and reject us too. As the expression goes, we cannot have our cake and eat it too. He makes it very clear that He is just, He is fair and there is only ONE way to heaven (John 14:6, John 17:1-5, Galatians 1:1-20).
When we do accept His gift, and surrender to His powers, then we can place all of our fears into His hands! Then we can say, “Fear not. I need not be afraid. For nothing happens without the Lord's permission. He is in control. He has good plans for us all. His plans are always perfect. My trust and faith is in Him. His Will will prevail!” Remain in Him and He will remain in you (John 15:1-10). That is the kind of faith & love that David had in his heart when he slayed the Philistine giant, Goliath (1 Samuel 17:45-46) and it was the same passion that was in Nehemiah's heart when he chose to rebuild the walls around God's chosen city, Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:17-20). Will you accept His gift, today, and place all of your fears in His hands?

Entitlements (by Os Hillman)
Fear (by Living Free)
Created Thursday, February 05, 2009