Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Fear of God

In his work, The Great Gain of Godliness, Thomas Watson defines the fear of God as “the reverencing and adoring of God’s holiness, and the setting of ourselves always under His sacred inspection.” Then he adds, “The infinite distance between God and us causes this fear.”

He answers the question, “How may we know whether we have the fear of God implanted in our hearts?”

1. 1. The fear of God will make a man fear sin (Genesis 39:9; Romans 14:23; 1 Thessalonians 5:22).

2. 2. He who fears God lives by the truth rather than example (Isaiah 8:20). Example is, for the most part, corrupt. A God-fearer directs the rudder of his life according to the compass of the Word.

3. 3. He who fears God keeps His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13) A gracious soul crosses his own will to fulfill God’s. A holy heart knows that there is nothing lost by obedience.

4. 4. He who fears God is consistent in every area of life. He who reverences God is, simper idem, alike good in all places.

5. 5. He who fears God is good in the position where God has set him (Genesis 42:18). A good man makes his family palaestra pietatis, a training ground of piety (Psalm 102:1).

6. 6. He who fears God dares not neglect family or private prayer (Psalm 109:4).

7. 7. He who fears God will not oppress his neighbor (Leviticus 25:17). How can he be holy who is not just?

8. 8. He who fears God is given to works of mercy (James 1:27). Grace may have a trembling hand, but it does not have a withered hand; it stretches itself out to relieve the needy.

9. 9. He who fears God would rather displease man than God (Exodus 1:17; Daniel 3:18).

10. 10. He who fears God will fear these six things: Satan’s snares (2 Corinthians 2:11); his own heart (Jeremiah 17:9) (this section is full of wise insights about the danger of self-flattery and pride); death; judgment (Psalm 96:13; James 5:9); Hell (Matthew 13:6); Heaven (Hebrews 4:1).

How shall we gain this fear? First, let us always set God before us; study His immensity (Genesis17:1). The reason people do not fear God is because they entertain slight thoughts of Him (Psalm 50:21). Second, let us pray for this fear of God, which is the root of all holiness, and the mother of all wisdom (Psalm 86:11). The Lord has promised to put this fear in our heart (Jeremiah 32:40). Let us pray over this promise: while some pray for riches, and others for children, let us pray for a heart to fear God.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Godly Man is a Patient Man

The older I get the more I feel my lack of godliness. Driving truck has brought many opportunities to expose my lack of patience. Waiting is 50% of the job: slow drivers, traffic jams, bad weather, waiting to be loaded and waiting to be unloaded. I long to be like my saviour, Jesus, "who for the joy set before Him endured the cross . . ." (Hebrews 12:2). I long for the patience of my Master, who endured all things.

Been reading Thomas Watson"s The Godly Man's Picture. He delineates a scriptural image of the qualities of a follower of Jesus Christ. Section 16 states, A Godly Man is a Patient Man. "Patience is a star that shines in a dark night." This is true in the trucking world; there are but few lights shining this beautiful christlike virtue in our dark world characterized by frustration, anger and rage. He continues, "If a godly man does not obtain his desire immediately, he will wait till the mercy is ripe. . . Deliverance may delay beyond our time, but it will not delay beyond God's time. Why should we not wait patiently for God? We are servants; it becomes servants to be in a waiting posture. We wait for everything else; we wait for the seed till it grows. Why cannot we wait for God?"

He answers the question, "How shall I get my heart into a patient mood? . . . Get faith; all our impatience proceeds from unblief. Faith is the breeder of patience. When a storm of passion begins to arise, faith says to the heart, as Christ did to the sea, 'Peace, be still,' and there is at once a calm. . . . Faith says to the heart, 'Are you troubled, O my soul? (Psalm 42:5). Are you afflicted? Is it not your Father who has done it? He is carving and polishing you and making you fit for glory. He smites that He might save. What is your trial? Is it sickness? God shakes the tree of your body so that some fruit may fall, even the 'peaceable fruit of righteousness.' (Hebrews 12:11).

"Pray to God for patience. Patience is a flower of God's planting. Pray that it may grow in your heart, and send forth its sweet perfume. Prayer composes the heart and puts it in tune, when impatience has broken the strings and put everything into confusion. Oh, go to God! Prayer delights God's ear; it melts His heart; it opens His hand. God cannot deny a praying soul. Seek Him persistently and either He will remove the problem or, which is better, He will remove your impatience."

Patience is believing that the sovereign Lord of the universe holds my times in His hands. There is nothing beyond His control. Everything that comes into my life is ordained by the One who put the stars into their place and knows the end from the beginning of my life. He is the One who is both great and good. Although I may not, or ever will, understand the events of my life, I can be certain they are intentionally planned for something better than I may be experiencing right now. My heavenly Father knows best.