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FIRST-PERSON: Fear and confidence?

“In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence and His children have a refuge” (Proverbs 14:26).

DORA, Ala. (BP)–Exactly what is the “fear of the Lord”? Is it to live in terror of God’s power and authority which we definitely know is unending and unlimited? No, it’s to live with a healthy respect and awe of what He is capable of, is doing and will do.

My Daddy was a gentle, precious and Godly father. Nonetheless, I knew that when he said to do or not do something, he meant it –- and to disobey was to find myself under his discipline. He loved nothing more than spending time with his family, providing for us, loving us and watching over us. But when I lacked the sense or the discipline to remain within the scope of his rules and authority, he loved me enough not to allow me to get away with it.

I obeyed my father for two reasons: (1) I loved and respected him; and (2) I had a healthy fear and understanding that he would mete out discipline if I chose to disobey him. I’m probably a teeny bit biased, but I think I had one of the greatest daddies God ever put on this planet. Yet I still can truthfully say that I had the kind of healthy “fear” of him that is like the kind we need to have concerning our Creator.

How can we have “strong confidence” by having “fear in the Lord?” I go back to my Daddy as an example. I knew I shouldn’t disobey my Daddy and that if I did, I’d pay for having done so. But at the same time, I also knew that if I disobeyed and got myself into any sort of trouble, my Daddy wouldn’t desert me. Matter of fact, he’d come “loaded for bear” to my rescue! Nothing would deter him from rescuing me, even if my whole problem was of my own doing.

I never doubted my father’s love. I never doubted that he would forgive me anything. I had “strong confidence” that there was nothing I could say or do that would ever cause him to stop loving me or refuse to come to my rescue. But I also loved and respected him enough to try, albeit imperfectly, to live within his rules and authority.

This is what the first part of this verse is talking about. As I continue to grow and mature as a believer, I realize more and more how much “confidence” I have in God’s absolute love for me. My earthly father can no longer be there for me, but I have a Heavenly Father who will never be taken from me or leave me, and who will love me forever and ever –- even when I defy His rules and authority. Too, I know that He forgives me and continues to love me unwaveringly.

When we have this kind of “strong confidence” in the Lord, we, “His children,” “have a refuge” from every storm and every heartache. And you know, you can’t have strong confidence in the Lord and other people not take notice. That genuinely close trust can’t be faked. When it’s for real, we display His strength and cause other people to see and know where the only real refuge is.

Has life got you down lately? Need a refuge? You have One, and He’s ready and waiting to shelter you the moment you ask Him.
Judy Woodward Bates is a freelance writer, author, speaker and creator of Bargainomics, a Bible-based time and money management philosophy, and the author of “The Gospel Truth about Money Management.” Visit her website at www.bargainomics.com.

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  • Judy Woodward Bates