February 23, 2018 Brethren Letter

Dear Brethren,

I was talking with an electrician today who was working at our business putting up lighting. During our conversation, we talked about the word “fear”. He told me that he had a fear of being enclosed in a tight space, and not able to escape. He described a situation where he had become stuck in an attic (crawl-space), while doing electrical work. His heart began beating fast, breathing became difficult, and he feared he would not be able to find his way back to safety.

Thankfully, his employer was also there. After realizing what was happening, his boss took quick action, and began talking to his employee calmly, verbally guiding him backwards out of the attic. What started out as a situation of panic, eventually turned into a happy ending, once a very level-headed boss began helping him through his ordeal.

Afterward, the owner of the business comforted his employee by saying, “Don’t worry, If I hadn’t been able to talk you down, to get you out of there, I would have broken through the ceiling if necessary, just to get to you.” Now, there was a man who really cared for his employee! Later, after hearing his story, a scripture came to mind. “Humble yourselves under the strong hand of God, then, so that when it is time, he may raise you; let all your anxieties fall upon him, for his interest is in you” (I Peter 5:6-7 – MOFF). There’s no greater love than what God the Father and His Son Jesus the Christ, have toward us.

People have different fears. Some people have a fear of heights, some fear darkness, others have a fear of being alone. What about having the fear of God? Is having a proper fear of God, the same as the other types of fears I’ve mentioned?

There are harmful fears in life. There are fears and worries which will rob a person of internal peace. Then, there is a right type of fear, a proper fear that stems from wisdom and knowledge. Fear of danger can be a proper fear keeping us out of physical harm. However, on the spiritual side, having a right fear of God will provide spiritual safety and protection. “The fear of the LORD leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil” (Proverbs 19:23). GODLY fear is founded in FAITH. Having the right fear toward God is not a NEGATIVE fear, it’s a fear that rightly stands in awe of God with reverence and respect, not wanting to disobey Him.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7).

The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility (Proverbs 15:33).

Here are some paragraphs from the Plain Truth magazine, “Questions and Answers”, January 1969, on the topic of having a right fear toward God.

Godly fear supplies motivation and furnishes impetus to obey His Word, to avoid pitfalls and mistakes that injure us.

God is love (I John 4:8). He loves us (Romans 5:8) and wants us to enjoy life forever in His Kingdom. His commandments are love (I John 5:3) — they point out the way of love and blessings. When we fear to disobey God, we are given the incentive to carefully weigh our thoughts and actions in light of His Word and to avoid what is wrong. Thus, we are guided into the way of love that leads to every right result (Psalm 16:11). We become imbued with LOVE. The confidence and love which result, drive out and conquer the unreasoned, harmful, enslaving fears of man.

As God shows us in the book of I John, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear [wrong fear], involves torment… (I John 4:18).

One final scripture:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear [timidity], but of power and of love and of a sound mind [through His spirit] (II Timothy 1:7).

Having the right fear of God is good for us spiritually and leads to ETERNAL life.

Please have a wonderful Sabbath!

Your Brother in Christ,

Gary Liebold

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