4/22/16: Strong Confidence
Universities want to know what kinds of people are being let into their schools, so from time to time, I am called upon to write recommendation letters for my students. Those who have towed the line for four years in high school – having kept their grades up, participated in clubs, and exhibited positive character – are excited and confident about asking for my recommendations because they know I’ll really make them look good. However, those who are barely scraping by, have a poor attitude, and exhibit less-than-honorable character are not so enthused about seeking a letter from me. I will not tear them down, but I won’t lie either.
So it is when we approach God with our needs. Sooner or later, some situation will arise in our lives beyond our control and above our means. How we’ve handled ourselves before God up to that point now becomes an issue. Have we been walking according to His precepts? Have we been obedient to His commandments? Have we been spending time with Him? Have we been actively loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving our neighbor as ourselves? If so, the words of Proverbs 14:26-27 apply to us. “In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death” (NKJ).
The Hebrew phrase “fear of the Lord” used in these verses (yirah) means “to morally reverence.” In other words, when we live right before God – that is, respecting and honoring Him by our right living – we can approach Him in our times of need with “strong confidence.” We then have bold assurance and security; we know where to turn for safety and for life, for relief from the stresses, strains, and problems that beset us.
God is not a punk. We are wrong to expect we can act any kind of way that suits our desires when everything is going okay, and then when we get in a jam, run to God and He’ll bail us out. If that’s our attitude, we shouldn’t be surprised if we find ourselves sitting in the “jail cells” we’ve created for ourselves.
God is holy, righteous, and just, and He still hates our sin. Let’s exercise the fear of the Lord; be morally reverent. Then when the tough times arise, we can approach our Abba Father with strong confidence, knowing we’ll find a welcome place of refuge and fountain of life.
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