“Fearing God in an Anti-Christian Culture” July 21

 

Fearing God in an Anti-Christian Culture

 

With recent decisions in the courts, the temptation to just “go along because it’s the law” will never be stronger, but we must choose whether to fear God or fear man in the increasingly anti-Christian culture we live in.

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezra 3 & 4
Psalm 86.11-17
Proverbs 21.17-18
Acts 22.1-30

 

Fearing God in an Anti-Christian Culture

 

Ezra 3 & 4:

Fearing God or Man?

 

In chapter 3, even though the people who returned to Jerusalem had the authority of the king behind them, there was still opposition from the people already living in the land.

Verse 3 says, “… fear had come upon them because of the people of those countries …” But in spite of their feelings they determined to do what was right and to worship God as Moses had instructed them to do.

Even though there is a move to restrict our rights as believers, we still have a great deal of freedom under the laws of our land. And while Romans 13 instructs us to obey those who rule over us, even that has limitations. Anytime someone in authority asks us to sin, we have a higher authority—that is God and His Word.

With recent decisions in the courts, the temptation to just “go along because it’s the law” will never be stronger. There will be times on the job (even when we are within our rights), with our friends, or in our families where we will feel fear—fear of being ridiculed, fear of being rejected, fear of what people will think, fear of being labeled unloving or intolerant, even in some cases, fear of losing our jobs or our businesses. But, we too, can do what’s right in spite of our feelings. 

 

Fearing God in an Anti-Christian Culture - With recent decisions in the courts, the temptation to just "go along because it's the law" will never be stronger, but we must choose whether to fear God or fear man in the increasingly anti-Christian culture we live in.We are to fear God and not man. The fear of God isn’t a cowering fear, but a desire to please Him, to care more about what He thinks than what other people think, and to choose to bring Him glory. It is a reverential respect for God and His Word.

And courage isn’t the absence of fear; it is doing what’s right with His help in spite of it.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Prov. 9.10).

The fear of man brings a snare,
But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe (Prov. 29.25).

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Psalm 86.11-17:

Single Minded Fear

 

Unite My Heart to Fear Your Name

Verse 11b says, “… unite my heart to fear Your name.” As I said above, we are to fear God and not man.

In his book Taste and See, John Piper suggests praying for God to unite our hearts to fear His name. He points out that we all have areas of our lives where we do fear and obey God and other areas where our hearts are bent on going our own way or caught up in the fear of man—hence the importance of asking God to “unite our hearts” to be single-minded on pleasing Him.

 

Proverbs 21.17-18:

The Love of Pleasure

 

Verse 17, “He who loves pleasure will be a poor man …” When we develop a taste for the best of everything, a desire for ease and entertainment, or for sensual pleasure, instead of satisfying us, it causes us to want more.

“The eyes of man are never satisfied” (Prov. 27.20).

A focus on pleasure, entertainment, and ease leads to laziness and a lack of willingness to fulfill responsibilities. And when that focus is sensual pleasure, it often leads to immorality. All of them lead to poverty— material poverty, relational poverty, and, ultimately, poverty of spirit.

 

Acts 22.1-30:

Circumstances and God’s Sovereignty

 

Here in chapter 22 Paul shares a large portion of his testimony. He will give it more fully in chapter 26 when speaking before King Agrippa. He confessed his involvement in the death of Stephen, the first martyr of the church (Acts 22.20), and spoke of his zeal to destroy “the Way”—that is the church.

The Jews listened to what he had to say until he told them that God had called him to share the gospel with the gentiles. At that they were incensed and wanted to kill him, but God used his Roman citizenship to keep him alive. This is an example of how God uses circumstances to bring about His will.

Lord, help us to be like the Apostle Paul—willing to share the truth even with those who oppose us—but help us to do so with wisdom, gentleness and patience.

 

Coming Up:

In the next few days, we’ll look at how what to do when you feel like your purse has a hole in it and you just can’t get ahead, the biblical grounds for divorce, how an entitlement attitude affects our contentment, the worthlessness of religion, and how flattery can result in great temptation. Be sure to sign up so you won’t miss any of these upcoming posts.

Blessings,
Donna


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Featured Resource:

 

Taste and See: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life

This revision of the follow-up to the popular A Godward Life adds twenty fresh entries to the original 120 daily meditations that are solid meat and sweet milk from God’s Word. The new entries broach current and controversial subject matter, such as partial-birth abortion and gay marriage. Piper asks the hardest questions and finds wonderfully poignant but practical and applicable truths from the Bible. These 350 pages of substantive spiritual nourishment will brace readers’ minds with truth and nourish their hearts with God’s sovereign grace.

 

10 thoughts on ““Fearing God in an Anti-Christian Culture” July 21

  1. Donna,
    This was just a topic at camp two weeks ago. We live in a different age and learning how to serve God in it is so important. Thankfully the church flourishes in these times as long as we continue to fear God. Praying you’re blessed sensing the presence of God surrounding you today.
    ~Sherry Stahl
    xoxo

    • Yes, it’s true that the church flourishes at these times … at least the true church, those who are following Him. So glad you stopped by today.

  2. I’m so thankful that we live in a land where we do still have freedoms to believe as we want to and to love each other in so many different ways. God is so creative in helping us find new ways to make him known in our culture so we don’t have to fear anyone. Love always wins!

    I join you in praying this, Donna: “Lord, help us to be like the Apostle Paul—willing to share the truth even with those who oppose us—but help us to do so with wisdom, gentleness and patience.”

  3. Things in our culture have continued down a road that is headed to no place good… what a blessing to know God in these fearful times. Thank you for the reminder to remember to fear God instead of man. May we keep our eyes on Him.

    • Amen! Let’s pray that we do and that others would see that peace as things continue to get more rocky.

  4. We just discussed this in church this weekened. Sharing the Truth and the gospel of the Lord even though it might make us nervous to do so. It’s important to continue to reach out to non-believers and to do so means we must be around them and their influence from time to time. We continue to draw strength from his word, prayer, and our church body.

    • Sharing His truth is one of the most important things we do and it’s never been more important. So glad you stop by and shared your thoughts.

  5. Donna, this is so relevant today. I love what you said here: “And courage isn’t the absence of fear; it is doing what’s right with His help in spite of it.” It is important for us to remember not to let our fear rule us and our actions, but to allow God to give us the strength we need to stand up in the face of fear. Thanks for your strong words, we’re neighbors today on Coffee For Your Heart Linkup!

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