Trials and the Fear of God

Do not let your peace depend on what people say of you, for whether they speak good or ill of you makes no difference to what you are. True peace and joy is to be found in Me [Jesus] alone. He who is neither anxious to please nor afraid to displease men enjoys true peace.

~Thomas a Kempis

I pierced my nose last fall. When asked why, I say, Do you want the short answer or the not-so-short answer?

The short answer is, I've always thought tiny shimmering studs in a woman's nose are beautiful. Feminine. Graceful.

The not-so-short answer is that I have finally learned to fear God more than I fear man. 39 years of living in grave fear of what others might say about me or my choices, and I know this goes way back because in high school a friend had the courage to say to me, "You know, everyone isn't talking about you all the time". Ouch. Guess I thought so.

When you experience for yourself that it is Almighty God who can snuff out our time on earth in one heartbeat, you tend to see Him for who He is: Omnipotent, All-Knowing, Sovereign. My fear of His power rose exponentially, but my fear of man fell into the garbage heap where it belongs.

We're not talking about a Biblical issue or sin here. I'm open and receptive to hearing about what ails me, and the Holy Spirit does a very steady job of revealing my short comings while at the same time breathing life-giving truths into my soul. You might not like nose rings, you might associate them with something negative, and you might never, ever do that to your nose. That's ok.

What's not ok is when we take the role of cosmic policeman either by imposing our own extra-Biblical choices onto others, when we measure our spirituality by outward marks of insignificant details (think nose piercing, highlighted hair, or a trendy hat... or homeschooling, dresses only, exclusively Christian music), or when we assign a role to God that He Himself doesn't own (that cosmic policeman...)

Why, after being unshackled by the freeing grace of God, do we want to put ourselves back into bondage?

Fear God and God alone.

If the fear of man is a form of bondage for you, you might gain great insight from Edward T. Welch's When People Are Big and God is Small. I found it very helpful.