I’ve seen so much confusion inside the Body of Christ about the Holy Spirit. What is the role of the Holy Spirit? How do we hear him and know for sure it’s him we are hearing? Is he dead or alive today? What are these gifts of the spirit and are they still operating in all ways today? We they just for the early church and the apostles? With the canonized Bible do we still have the Holy Spirit working in our lives?
I talked with some lovely people yesterday who have been raised in a church family that hasn’t answered these questions completely. They, like many, are leery of some of the more charismatic gifts and don’t quite understand the fullness of his role in a Believer’s life. We spent some time sharing with them and offered our understanding the best we could. But it left me wondering just how many Believers out there were carrying an arsenal of power “dynamos” with them and were totally clueless as to how to utilize it.
Then this morning I caught a short part of a teaching where the man talked about “fearing the Lord”. The man spoke like the Holy Spirit is a ghost of which to be afraid. Maybe so. I mean, he is pretty powerful. God’s own spirit breathed into us. But to me, he is my daddy. Abba. My best friend. Moses met with him face to face as a friend yet still revered him so much that he wouldn’t speak the Lord’s name. There is balance in here somewhere. However, when in the message the man spoke of the Holy Spirit’s power as something that should cause us to “fear the Lord” I cringed.
I had to set myself aside for a moment and figure out why my spirit of discernment was going up. What was the man really trying to communicate? I think he meant respect. Reverence. Awe. The Holy Spirit certainly is someone we should marvel at and respect. And I’m sure early in our relationship as Father and daughter, like many young children, I did fear him. Fear with a sense of not knowing him fully. But now, I know him as Father! And I know him as Friend. There is that balance I mentioned.
What I want to encourage Believers with today is this. The Holy Spirit is not a ghost to be feared. God is not a distance far off God we look up up in awe over. Rather, he is Helper. Comforter. Guide. Wisdom. Father. Friend.
If my best friend is someone whom I should fear, I think I should be finding a new best friend!
We can “fear” the Lord if the meaning of “fear” is to be in awe. Proverbs 9:10 says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” We show great prudence at “fearing the Lord”, right? But what is the meaning of this word fear in the New Covenant? This verse is Old Covenant. A time when God was far off. The only one who ever met with him face to face and had true intimacy as a friend with God was Moses. And Moses was the only one to have ever carried the Glory of God upon him in the Old Covenant.
Now, in the New Covenant, we as Believers carry the presence of God in us always! We host the presence of God. He has given a helper to make our heart of stone into a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 28). So what does “fearing the Lord” look like in this New Covenant? And what does it have to do with the Holy Spirit working in our lives?
I guess I see it like this. It’s a simple concept really. It’s hard for me not to be in awe of those I love. I look at my children and marvel daily. They are remarkable human beings. I stand in awe of them! I’m not afraid of them, but I marvel over them. And the motivator is familiarity love.
Same for my husband. I look at the man the Lord placed beside me for this journey of life and I marvel. He is remarkable. Patient. Loving. Kind. Creative. Passionate. Strong. Hard working. Diligent. But I’m not afraid of him. And I don’t do things out of a motivation of fear. Rather, again, my motivator is love. I am intimate with him in life. We share dreams and thoughts. We are best friends.
I think that is the root of why this man’s messages bothered me. Too many times I hear “fear the Lord” as a way to motivate us to “DO” things. The Lord’s presence should make us quake. Shake in our boots. Cause us to fear. But this is Old Covenant stuff. Elijah only heard the voice of the Lord and felt the earth quake at his presence. Elijah never saw the Lord face to face. Abraham only heard from the Lord’s messengers. Jacob wrestled with the Lord’s angel.
But today in the New Covenant the Lord has made us a new creation and called us to simply “BE”. We are his child. Adopted into his family. Works not needed to secure our identity (though appreciated when they happen). And it is out of that love and “being” where we find the perfect balance to “fear the Lord” and naturally follow the calling of the Holy Spirit in our life. His whispers that lead us to who, what, when and where.
And I guess it would be nice to get to a place where the Lord’s presence and the way he speaks to me is so normal that it doesn’t cause fear. I’m getting there but still have a ways to go. I don’t want to be startled with he speaks. I want his voice and his presence to be familiar to me. A recognizable fragrance. So we could, in a way, finish each other’s sentences since we were so familiar with each other. Like two best friends. I dare say that our relationship could be so casual that we just walk through life hand in hand
This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t’ “fear the Lord.” If anything the “reverence and respect” would only grown more intense through love and intaminaty. Just like my husband and I over the last 16 years.
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