What’s the secret to optimum spiritual health in the lives of individual believers and ultimately the Church? It’s simple, really.
Optimum spiritual health both individually and corporately happens when we live in the fear of the Lord. What does that mean? It means we possess a reverential awe for who God is – holy, compassionate, forgiving, generous, powerful, sovereign and all-wise. That respect for Him transforms our attitudes and actions so that we reflect Christ to a watching world. Here’s what that looks like in real life:
- A woman grows tired of her listless marriage. She’s tempted to find her emotional needs met by flirting online. No one will ever know, she reasons. But she understands that God cannot be fooled therefore she chooses not to follow her feelings. She opts to be faithful to her husband and pours her energies into making her marriage last.
- Another woman is wounded by a coworker’s gossip. She’s tempted to retaliate but she cannot shake God’s command to pray for those who persecute you. And so she chooses to pray for the good of her coworker rather than spread unkind words about her throughout the office.
- Yet another woman receives news of a loved one’s tragic death. Despair and anger overwhelm her and she’s tempted to shake her fist at God for sleeping on the job. But then she recalls that God is sovereign. Even when bad things happen, He’s able to turn them into something good. Remembering these truths changes her perspective and brings hope that causes an unbelieving friend to ask probing questions about her faith.
The fear of the Lord takes precedence over emotions, and decisions are made based on what honors Him rather than what makes us feel good. That’s the life that God honors.
Acts 9:31 says that the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. It didn’t say the church became stronger when the pastors preached better sermons or people gave bigger donations or more programs were implemented. Rather, it became stronger as individual believers lived in the fear of God. They walked in obedience to His Word. They lived according to His ways. They did what He said, and everything else fell into place.
If we want healthy churches, let’s do our part. Let’s walk in the fear of the Lord. Imagine what our churches would look like today if every believer did so. We’d turn the world upside down for Jesus Christ!