frances slocum trees

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Everyone who follows His ways has good perception and understanding. Let your praise abide in Him forever!” (Psalm 111.10).

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom because I see there is something—someone—far greater than me, infinitely more powerful than my arrogance about how I thought the universe worked. But it’s the beginning. Fear isn’t where God wants me to live. As soon as I recognize how dark and empty I’ve been, His desire isn’t for me to be filled with dread and self-loathing, but with light and love, to continuously overflow His righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

Beware of listening to anyone who primarily uses fear to communicate their message. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pastor, politician, activist, business person, or teacher. If they’re living in fear, they’ll use it to manipulate, shame, confuse, weary, and disempower as many as possible to put them under their control, or at least join them in their fear. They need many, because fear is a such a lousy place to live, and misery really does love company.

If you have been giving in to fear, letting your thoughts and feelings go to a dark place—know it’s going to be okay, as long as you don’t stay there. Don’t let the enemy tell you have to live in anxiety, frustration, and pain as a punishment, or because that’s all you deserve. Don’t allow him to dictate how you think or feel. God has not sentenced you to some spiritual or emotional prison. The cell is unlocked, and He is waiting to lead you out of this place. You are His child. You can’t earn that, because it never changes. You can’t work for God’s love. He loves you beyond human understanding, and can’t love you less. It’s who He is. Let that love, and with it, His grace, peace, joy, kindness, and hope, displace the darkness. Let Him refill your heart and mind with His thoughts toward you, and all you’re dealing with.

Right now, begin by asking Him to bring you to a place of rest. The enemy’s twisted fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of rejection—they’re exhausting. Those kinds of fear lie and says you’re not allowed to rest, you have to stay stressed and worried about everything, or your life will fall apart. Fear says you know better than God. Rest teaches you to appreciate His presence, strengthens you to persevere, and frees you to enjoy the journey. Rest is your state of being in Christ, an unassailable mindset of joy and peace. Fear hates rest, peace, and joy, almost as much as it hates love.

Take a deep breath. In His rest, think about all you have to be grateful for. Bring to mind the love, grace, peace, hope, goodness, kindness, and joy He’s given you. Let them fill you. Truly see how present He is in your life. Let that presence overwhelm every circumstance, heal every wound, and silence every lie. Let the light of who He really is push out every shadow.

As you let your awe of God arise, you realize Wisdom is a person. Just as God is Love, and Light, He is Wisdom. Let Wisdom speak to who you are, to how He sees you. Let Him speak into all your relationships and circumstances. Let Him transform how you think, to see yourself and your life as He does. That’s wisdom. Wisdom is being intentionally aware of how God sees your life, and growing in your ability to live in agreement with Him.

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