Journal Entry // May 20, 2021
So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.Acts 9:31 ESV
Fear and comfort. It seems odd to find both of these words describing the walk of those in the early church. This is another one of those two-sided actions that should be prevalent in my life. Another reminder of my role and God’s role in my life.
Fear the Lord. It’s the beginning of wisdom and is marked by a hatred of evil. It’s hard to really grasp the meaning of this in my life. It seems so antithetical to what is taught in the church today. Yet here again is God’s word calling me to fear the Lord. That there was blessing being poured out on the community because they were living out the fear of the Lord. What’s a practical way to live this out? I think it is best juxtaposed against the fear of man. When I am living in the healthy fear of the Lord, I am no longer ruled or concerned with the fear of man. The fear of man brings discord, jealousy, covetousness, pride, and a whole host of negativity. A rightful fear of the Lord dispels a unhealthy reliance on this world and the sinful call of the world, the flesh, and the devil. The fear of the Lord calls me to lift my eyes up and away from this world and to gaze deeply at my true home.
Comfort of the Holy Spirit. As I walk this path and sojourn through this life, the Lord will bring comfort to my heart and soul through his Spirit. There is no promise of an easy carefree life. Quite the opposite in fact. As started earlier in the chapter, Saul, upon his conversion was shown how much he would suffer for Christ. This is yet another fallacy that invades my mindset. I am geared to see suffering as something negative that must be removed. That suffering is an indicator of wrong. While this may be true at times, suffering is more normative in the Christian walk than we give acknowledgement. All believers suffer. All believers are expected to suffer as we walk through this life following the example of Christ. Who himself was made to suffer. He learned obedience through suffering. How much more do I need suffering in my life to teach me obedience and faithfulness? For in all of this the Lord has given me his Spirit. His Spirit resides within my heart bringing me comfort. Not the temporary comfort of sitting by the lake and enjoying God’s creation. No. He brings true everlasting comfort to my soul. A living comfort of peace and rest to my heart.
So this is my motivation in life. Walk in the fear the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Both are necessary to be found faithful in this life. Lifting my gaze to my heavenly home and setting my heart to persevere in the midst of suffering. Rightly fearing the Lord and seeking comfort in Christ alone. This is my calling in life. This is where my focus needs to be. The details are just that. These details will be worked out and taken care of as I stay engaged with the bigger picture of loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.