A Fear That Heals and Sustains
By Jennifer Slattery
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:7-8
My “wisdom” leads to trouble. Whenever I resist God’s guidance, convinced I know better how something should play out, how my gifts should be used or a certain ministry should be run, I reveal the depths of my foolishness and ultimately make a mess of things. Guilt and regret loom; and my heart becomes diseased by sin.
When I fear the Lord, however, by acknowledging all He is and commands, I find healing and refreshment. There are two types of fear. One is the emotion we most often associate with the word—that nauseating, prickly sin feeling one gets when life turns chaotic and danger comes. The other, denoted by the Hebrew word yare, includes a sense of reverence or awe.
My knowledge of Christ’s power, character, and sovereignty produces both. Like a child under the authority of her parent, I know consequences come from disobedience, not because God enjoys punishing His children. Rather, He knows where our rebellion leads—to sickness, self-destruction, and death. But submitting to His authority leads to health, vitality, and strength in our core.
This is where the second type of fear comes in. The more I understand who God is, what He’s done, and all He’s promised, the more I’m inclined to abandon my “wisdom” and submit to Him. He’s omniscient, which means He knows everything that happened in the past, will happen in the future, and every obstacle or blessing we might face. His perfect wisdom directs His flawless and unshakable love to cause all things to work together for our good. (Rom. 8:28).
The more I understand who God is and who I am in relation to Him, the more I willingly surrender to His guiding hand. As I do, He leads me from those things that threaten to harm me and toward spiritual and emotional strength and health.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, is the author of eight contemporary novels, and helped write Wholly Loved’s Bible study based on the life of Sarai (Gen. 12-23) titled Becoming His Princess, releasing in the spring/summer of 2019. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.
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Originally published Friday, 13 January 2023.