The Fear Factor

“Also they are afraid of height, and of terrors in the way;”

This is found in the closing chapter of Ecclesiastes in a section of Scripture describing growing old. Verse 2 addresses the mental state, verses 3 and 4 are the physical changes, and verse 5 describes the literal change, a fear of height and terror in general.

Maybe this fear of heights comes from losing one’s sense of stability and balance. I know my fear of heights didn’t come with aging. I have always had a fear of heights. Maybe not a crippling fear but I just don’t like heights. I remember a trip to Pikes Peak and my struggle driving up the switch backs. As I looked over the edge of the road I remember thinking that I was about to get completely locked up with fear. And just for the record  I don’t particularly enjoy riding those glass elevators either.

And the second part of the verse, terror, is certainly a concern of all today.

Fear. In general, think about all the things that cause fear.

I want you to consider a simple truth: You can fear GOD OR you can fear everything else.

Solomon’s search for meaning led him to this conclusion: Fear GOD and keep His commandments for this is the whole of man.

The word fear is translated from the Hebrew term yare. This term means revere, respect, etc. So Solomon’s conclusion was two-fold. We are to fear or revere GOD and we are to obey Him. Respect and obey. One is an attitude and one is an action. This is in keeping with what is found in John 4:24 – GOD is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth. Spirit is the attitude and truth is the action. For our thoughts today let us consider the attitude.

To fear GOD. Fear should develop into respect. Think about how our fear of an earthly father should morph into a respect. As a young child, fear of a father might be a healthy caution of consequences. As a child there were things I dared not do because I knew there were unpleasant consequences awaiting if I did. But as we grow older it is not the fear of physical or even emotional consequences that govern our behavior toward our fathers. But if the relationship with our earthly fathers is what GOD intends we will always give them respect.

This is what we read in Hebrews 12: 9, “Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us and we paid them respect.”

The older I get the more I appreciate this thought. But as much as I respect and revere my GOD, there will always be the fear factor. I love Him but I am afraid of Him. I want to live my life through Christ so that I can be treated as an adopted son and therefore have nothing to fear. But as long as I am on this side of eternity, I fear Him.

You can fear GOD or you can fear everything else. Now consider the “everything else.”

Living for GOD, fearing Him, means I don’t have to fear all the other stuff. I don’t want to live my life in fear of what might happen.

What if the economy collapses?

What if the U.S. were to fail?

What if Korea or Iran or China launches the missile?

What if?

What if?

If I am a faithful child of GOD, the best is yet to come.

Think about it….

No tears in heaven….

No more pain….

No more regrets….

No more anxieties….

Romans 8:31 reads, “What shall we say then to these things? If GOD is for us, who can be against us?”

I remember once attending a gathering of spiritual leaders when the fire alarm went off. The speaker very calmly said “Well we hope that is just a false alarm; but if not I’ll see you over there shortly.” As a faithful Christian this is how we live. We enjoy the here and now but we realize the best is yet to come.

If I fear GOD I have nothing else to fear. Seems like a pretty easy choice to me.

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