Monday, August 24, 2015

Do You Know Fear?

by Dina Sleiman

Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. ~ Psalm 86:11

This summer nineteen members of Acts 2 Church went on a mission trip to a poor, rural part of West Virginia and Kentucky. While there, we were all challenged (including the children and teens) to have an hour long quiet time, and it actually ended up being a big hit! Part of the reason it worked out so well was that we were given a devotional guide (which was actually more like an in depth Bible study) titled “Know Fear.” And after our quiet time each day we had small group discussions about what the Lord was showing us.

Initially, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The mission organization was new to our church, and I was concerned that the “Know Fear” topic might be something judgmental and religious, trying to slap us upside the head with the fear of God. Instead, it was a very balanced and deep-probing analysis of fear: both the good and bad sides of the subject.

First we learned that fear is an important window into the soul. We shouldn’t just ignore, deny, or repress our fears, because our fears tell us a lot about what is really going on inside of us. Fear reveals certain needs and cravings that we have. And at the bottom of those needs and cravings are idolatry that we probably never even suspected. One fear in my heart that God revealed was certainly a new one for me. I had a fear of discomfort and pain, which I think comes from some of the middle-aged health challenges I’ve been facing for the last few years. Certainly not any exciting or impressive sin, and yet something that could pull me away from God’s best plans for my life it I let it.

Aaron sporting his "Know Fear" shirt
Over the next two days we really took an in depth look at the fear of man and the fear of the unknown. Two areas that hold many Christians back from God’s best for their lives. And at the end of the day, both sinful responses that we need to overcome. I didn’t personally relate a lot to the fear of man, but it revealed a different fear. I long to be free and unique, and so I fear any sort of outward control on my life. Even on this trip, I had opportunities to challenge myself and face that fear.

Due to the duration of our trip, it wasn’t until I got home that I finally had the opportunity to read the author, Lauren Wright’s, perspective on the fear of God. And it was perfect. When we are not in right relationship with God, we have every reason to fear Him. But as we grow in relationship, that fear morphs into reverence, devotion, trust, and eventually pure worship.

This probably wasn’t a subject I would have ever thought to study on my own, but I feel like now I “Know Fear” much better than I ever have before, and I’m thankful for the revelations God gave me on this subject.

You can read more about the trip here, or check out our pictures here.

What fears have you struggled with? What fears have you overcome? Those of you who were on the trip, feel free to share your thoughts too!

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