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.
I liked this verse, it has a happily ever after feel, but my thoughts on this verse probably varies from others who read it.
When I young, before I started to really think about God and my faith, I had a pretty standard take on this verse. My upbringing in the church was one of a loving God, but also a fire and brimstone God constantly punishing us for every sin and then forgiving. So fear of the Lord was fear of an omnipotent being just waiting for me to screw up. I’d better walk the line.
As for the Holy Spirit, well it was never really explained to me. I use to envision it as a ghost, as some sort of being that was also outside of me that could control and guide me.
When I was a young, I pictured God and the Holy Spirit in a classic painting. People would be cowering below a mythical being in the clouds and there would be an angelic like apparition floating around trying to guide them to the path of righteousness.
That kind of imagery works great when you’re trying to mold a young mind into being a righteous person, but it reminds me of the boss who yells and threatens the workers. They’ll toe the line, but just enough to avoid the wrath of the boss, never finding any joy in their work. Eventually they become discouraged and search for something else. This is how some are lost. Others just continue to do just enough to not incur the expected wrath, and some search for a different perspective.
As I grew up and experienced life, many lessons presented themselves to me. I started seeing the truth in how things work for man. I started seeing the good, the bad and the ugly. As it started making sense, it also stopped making sense. These feelings of uncertainty drove me back to the Bible. I read and re-read the Bible a number of times and began to understand that it’s the owner’s manual for life. The more I read it, the more the lessons began to fall into place.
The fear of the Lord is not about cowering to some supernatural task master and the Holy Spirit is not some outside influential ghost. God and righteousness are not something we seek outside of us, they are within us.
This verse from Acts is a happily ever after deal.
And walking in the fear of the Lord…..
Fear of the Lord isn’t about the punisher waiting to punish. It’s not external, it’s internal. Fear of the Lord is being aware that God has granted you this one of a kind gift of life. Part of that gift is a talent, a unique talent, one that only you possess, one that no one else has ever or will ever have.
What is to be feared? Wasting the life you were given, wasting the talent by not seeking with your whole heart to discover that talent and why that talent was given to you. Not seeking your talent that is your path to righteousness, that is to be feared.
Fear of the Lord is fear of yourself, fear of not making room in your heart for God, fear of pushing God out of your heart for worldly desires.
…and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit…
The Holy Spirit, that too is within us, given to us by God with this gift of life. It is the want, desire and never ending need to seek righteousness and keep God in our hearts.
Both God and the Holy Spirit are about you, the individual using your individuality for the pursuit of righteousness. That is our happily ever after story.
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