“Dear Fear of Isaac, please help me…”
Do you hear a lot of prayers that begin that way?
There are a lot of interesting ways I hear people address God in prayer—Yeshua, Abba, Daddy God…but not so much the “Fear of Isaac.”
Except in Genesis 31, in which Jacob (Israel) refers to God as “the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac.”
That’s a really cool name. Maybe I’ll start working it into my rotation.
There’s a lot we don’t understand about fear.
We can find the words “Do not fear” hundreds of times in the Bible. It’s a resonant theme.
But it’s not an absolute. There’s a really important exception.
As recorded in Luke 12, Jesus said, “…do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” (verse 4-5, ESV)
We are to fear God, and fear Him…alone.
What does it mean to fear God?
The interesting thing about fear is that the things we fear occupy our attention. Have you noticed that?
Whatever you’re anxious about, whatever you’re afraid of, those are the things that intrude upon your thoughts.
If the only thing we fear is God…then God will occupy all of our attention. Thoughts of God will intrude whether we want them to or not.
Satan traffics in fear. He loves the stuff. Because it turns your attention to other things. Things that are lesser than God.
But as usual, satan is perverting something that God intended for good.
Your fear of worldly things robs God of something that is due only to Him.
God says to fear Him and Him alone. Satan says to fear many things. Who will you choose to agree with today?
The answer isn’t to fear nothing. If it’s not impossible, then it’s hubris. Eradicating fear from your life will rob you of an important tool that God intended for you to have.
The answer is to use our fear rightly. To fear the only one due all of our attention and occupation.
We make a lot of decisions in our daily lives based on fear. Fear of what other people will think, fear of failure, fear of death or injury… When we’re presented with a decision, those are the things that get our attention. Because we’re afraid of them.
What if when presented with a decision, any decision, big or small, our attention was captivated by our fear of God?
What if instead of asking, “What will this person think?” Or “What will happen if I fail?” instead we thought, “What will please God?” or “How can I represent my faith in this?”
Do we truly believe that the only real consequence—the only consequence that matters—is our eternal consequence?
If we do, then like Jesus instructed, fear God, and fear Him alone.
God invented fear. He designed it to occupy our attention.
We can’t make calendars out of the “Do not fear” passages of the Bible and ignore the “Do fear” parts! That’s a recipe for failure and frustration.
Literally from Genesis to Revelation we can find references and instructions to Fear God only.
Maybe we’re wasting a whole lot of time and energy trying to be fearless, hopelessly trying to completely remove fear from our lives, instead of just pointing our fear in the right direction.
Don’t fear people. Don’t fear worldly consequences. Don’t fear tomorrow. Fear the one who holds all of those things in His hand. Let Him occupy your attention and intrude upon your mind.
Let Him ruin your plans.
What tries to steal your fear and grab your attention? Share in the comments below.
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