John Bevere, in his book entitled ‘The Fear of the Lord,’ states that ‘If you desire the praise of man, you will fear man. If you fear man, you will serve him – for you serve what you fear.’ When I look around, I see that statement affirmed in a mighty way. The plaques, pictures and credentials that are displayed in people’s cubes are a glaring and sad testimony to who the majority of my co-workers desire praise from, who they fear, and who they serve.
There are some of us, however, that fear the Lord. Titles and credentials are of no importance to us. Because we have no fear of man, we don’t seek his favor nor do we serve him out of fear. Instead, the things we do every day are done to glorify the Lord and because we love others. Even though there may be constant turmoil and instability around us, the peace that we have transcends all understanding.
I can also see that, based on where a person’s fear lies, they either pray or prey. Some see the sickness or personal calamity of a fellow employee or supervisor as an opportunity to pray, intercede and change situations. They have a genuine love for the person and his or her well being. But those who fear and serve man see it as an opportunity to prey, gain approbation and move up the ladder of worldly success. They may even wish for the situation to deteriorate further and more quickly so they can move in. I have a tremendous burden for these people. Some of those who prey even profess to be born again Christians, but I see no evidence of Jesus in their hearts or their actions.
In Psalm 111:10, God’s word tells us that ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.’ Many have little or no understanding of what ‘The fear of the Lord’ is. It is not a fear of God based on man’s idea of who God is. Over the centuries, the Church has pulled God’s glory down to their level of understanding. God is not some malevolent being that sits on a throne just waiting to crush everyone who breaks His rules. In actuality, fear of the Lord is two things. First, it is an understanding of who God is, His magnificence and His glory. Second, and just as important, it is sharing the Father’s intolerance of sin.
Too many in the Church today have no fear of the Lord and instead seek the praise of their fellow men. They have reduced God’s glory to that of a Santa Claus on demand. They call on Him only when they are in deep trouble. They blame Him for their problems that are actually the result of their own rebellion. Accept the fact that virtually everything you say and do during your daily activities, Monday through Sunday, either glorifies God or it glorifies Satan. Though we like to believe that it exists, there is no middle ground. Please take a moment to consider the percentage of your time and resources you have used to glorify the Lord over the past month. As the bumper sticker and shirts say, ‘No fear!’ That phrase could be the motto in the Church today. Before you go off on your high horse, I know there are exceptions. I know that the Church is in renewal with some churches in real revival. But I’m talking about the majority of people who profess to be born again believers.
There’s a wonderful story about a concert pianist who, after a performance, received a thundering, standing ovation from an audience of over four thousand people. When the media interviewed him after the performance, they asked him what impact the applause from that many people had on him. His answer was ‘It had no effect on me. I looked up in the balcony where my piano teacher of many years sat and saw him nod in affirmation. That nod from one man meant more to me than the thousands who stood applauding.’
In the same manner, we should be seeking our Father’s affirmation and praise in every thing we say and do – not that of our fellow men.