Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”
That verse refers to the need for reverence and respect for the Lord. The writer says that it is, the very beginning of wisdom.
What does the “fear of the Lord” mean? It means a respect for God… a reverence for God. That is missing in society today.
Proverbs 19:23 says, “The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied untouched by evil.”
Think about that verse.. “The fear of the Lord leads to life..” A reverence for God leads to a better, healthier life. How so? It leads us to want to live for God. It bothers us when we are tempted to stray.
I like the last few words… “so that one may sleep satisfied… untouched by evil.” The person with a respect for or, fear of the Lord leads a happy, content life. When we go to bed at night, our conscience is clear because we have lived our day with a reverence for God.
Paul “Bear” Bryant was the legendary coach of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. Bryant’s players had a respect for him… even a fear of him. He was their Coach. He was “the Bear.”
If we can have respect for or even a fear of a human being, we most definitely should have it for Jehovah God.
Now, someone may say, “I thought God was a loving God… why should I be afraid of Him?” God is a loving God but God is also a God of wrath. We should live our lives with a reverence for God that guides us in our choices and daily living.
Sin… temptation… we deal with those all our lives. Even after we accept Christ as our Savior. Let me explain.
All of us come into the world as sinners. We are all descendants of Adam so we inherit that sin nature. We ask Jesus into our hearts to forgive us and our sins are forgiven. But, that doesn’t mean we never deal with temptation again. Sin.. our old nature is still present in our bodies.
But Christianity is about grace and forgiveness. So, does this mean that we can go on sinning because of grace? No. Paul said that when we are baptized, we are buried with Christ and our old sin nature is buried.
Later, Paul added, that we are not to “let sin reign” in our moral bodies. (Romans 6).
So, every day we battle temptation. Every day we battle sin. Even though we have asked Christ into our hearts, we still battle sin and temptation. And the only way to be beat it is to, everyday bury our old nature… don’t let it reign in your life.
Each one of us are tempted by different things. We need to be careful and not let those areas that we are tempted by trip us up.
I am a sports fan…. sports nut would be more like it. For a couple of years, I’ve tried to control my love for sports and not get so aggravated when my team loses. It’s a constant battle.
For some, they may be battle the temptation of liquor.
Others may battle the temptation of drugs.
For some it may be porn.
For others, maybe it’s pride.
All of us have something… some sin that we battle. And that sin is strong… Don’t fool yourself… it is strong. But, Jesus is stronger. Every day, we have to ask the Holy Spirit to help us bury it.
Just because you give your life to Christ doesn’t mean you don’t battle temptation any more. We do. Ask the Holy Spirit to bury your old sin nature.
No one likes adversity. If we had our choice, we would prefer nothing but fun and happiness. Thats human nature. But, we learn more and grow more during times of adversity.
In Romans 5, talks about the benefits of adversity. Paul writes, “we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance brings about proven character and proven character brings about hope.” So, tribulation….adversity…brings about proven character. How?
When we go through adversity, our character is tested. Our heart is revealed. Adversity, trials…have a tendency to burn away the things that don’t matter. When going through adversity we trust the Lord more. We may do without some things. We learn that we can do without some things.
It’s summer. Football season is a month-and-a-half away. But games that will be played in November are being won now. How so?
High school and college football teams are going through conditioning drills. It’s HOT in July. Those kids are sweating big time! Coaches are pushing them because if they will stick with it in July, they can rely on them in November. They are going through adversity now to build character.
Maybe you are going through some adversity. Don’t quit! God may be putting you through adversity to build some perseverance and perseverance produce character.
Have you ever had someone approach you asking for money? Or, you have been a road intersection and you have seen someone standing there holding a sign asking for help.
When you see this, you might think, “I would help them BUT…. I don’t know.. they may just use my money on drugs or liquor.”
Or, you may think, “I’m not going to help that bum… They can work just like I can.”
Or, maybe someone you now has asked you for a loan and you are a little taken aback by it.
Try not to be… I’m not suggesting we need to loan money to everyone and I’m not suggesting that everyone asking for help as a pure and spotless background but, we don’t know what’s gone on in a person’s life. We don’t know why they need help.
Proverbs 19:17 says, “He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, And He will repay him for his good deed”
So, the Bible is saying, that when we help someone, it is as if we are giving to the Lord. In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus told a parable about this. He said, when we give a cup of water or when we give food to someone who is struggling, we have done it unto the Lord.”
Several years ago, I knew a man who tried to help people in need. He told me that he did it because there was a time when he was hungry and people from their church were leaving bags of groceries on their porch. He had been helped and he wanted to help others.
Years ago, I read about a man who owned a trucking company. At one time, this man been very poor but he had worked hard and had become wealthy. He said that he always kept a $100 bill in his pocket in order to give to those who needed help.
If you see someone in need, if you can, help them. The Bible says when we do it, we are doing it unto the Lord.
Let’s imagine that you are standing before God. God asks, “Why should I let you in to my heaven?”
What do you say?
Some people might say, “Well God, I was a good person. I lived a morally clean life.”
Others might say, “Lord, I gave lots of money to charity.”
Others might say, “Lord, I think I raised three good kids.”
All of those reasons are good but, they don’t get us into heaven. After hearing us so those things, the Lord will say to us, “Your righteousness is like filthy rags.”
So, if we can’t give enough or do enough or be good enough to get into heaven, how do we do it? The ONLY way we can get into heaven is to have our sins forgiven. As we stand before God, we are sinners and we can’t do anything about that. We have to have help.
And we received LOTS of help. God sent His Son to this earth to die on the cross for our sins. On the cross, Jesus took the punishment for our sins. He paid our sin debt. Now, man has to believe in what Jesus did on the cross. When man believes in Jesus, our sin debt is paid.
Paul talked about this in Romans. Paul referred to Abraham and said, “Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness” (Romans 4:3). The same happens for us. When we believe in Jesus, it is reckoned unto us as righteous. The word “reckoned” means “to count” or “to charge with.” So, the moment we believe Christ, We are counted as righteous… We are then, right with God. We have believed in Jesus saving death on the cross and in doing that, we are then counted righteous.
So, we can’t work our way into heaven. We can’t give enough. We can’t be good enough. But, we don’t have to. When we believe in Jesus, it is “reckoned” or we are counted as righteous.
Give thanks to God for counting us as righteous before God.