A VIRTUE TO BE CULTIVATED

In the past few years, I have learnt that one needs a lot of confidence in their Kiswahili repertoire if they are to speak it to a person from Tanzanian. If you were like me, your brain would hurt when you try to come up with complete sentences in kiswahili sanifu. When Tanzanians speak, certain vowels are elongated; making the language sound more like poetry, which is very pleasing to the ear. I guess they feel otherwise about my Swahili. Most of the time, they make facial expression of dismay but paint over it with a polite smile. They probably wonder how someone, namely me, could do such violence to a language (Swahili).. Something else that has come to light is the difference in word meanings between the Swahili I speak and Swahili from Tanzania. For example, “leso” to me, means a wrapper that women tie around their waist but in Tanzanian Swahili, it means a handkerchief. Just a difference in intonation results in change of meaning of words or sentences. A word can have more than 5 different meanings in one language and another word can fail to have a translation in another language. Language is very interesting.

Words tend to take on meaning depending on the context they are found in. This refers to words being univocal or equivocal. Univocal is to say that the word returns the same meaning regardless of sentence structure or context, while Equivocal means words take on meanings depending on the context. Most of the time words are used equivocally. For example, the word entomology always means study of insects wherever its used. On the other hand, the word love is vastly dynamic. To word Love in phrase “I love burgers and fries” would never be equal in meaning to “I made love to my husband” or “Children are to be loved”.  Semantics matter.  Sometimes equivocal terms are same as analogous terms.

There are so many such words in the Bible. The one word I would like to dwell on today is the word “Fear”. Some words that have been translated to mean fear have a negative connotation and the word is usually followed by “NOT” or preceded by “DO NOT”. Examples that come to mind are instances when Angels are recorded to have encounters with men. The first words out of the Angels mouth to virgin Mary are “Fear not {Luke1:30} or when God spoke to the Joshua just before battle with their neighbors as he reminds them of His presence and His power  {Joshua8:1} . We all know the fear that is being referred to here. Probably the one we all have a better understanding of.  A kind of fear which is to be shunned and avoided—that fear which perfect love casts out.—because it has torment. It paralyzes and causes worry and doubt.

Then there is the holy kind of fear, a fear that is praised It has in it the very essence of love and, without which there would be no joy even in the Presence of God. Instead of perfect love casting out this fear, perfect love nourishes and cherishes it and, by communion with it, draws strength from it. Between the fear of a slave and the fear of a child, we can all perceive a great distinction. Between the fear of God’s great power and justice which the devils have—and that fear which a child of God has when he walks in the Light with his God, there is as much difference, surely, as between Hell and Heaven. This fear draws us into the very presence of God, leads us into obedience towards our Savior. It’s the reverence we give to our Lord and King. Its the fear that results from being in awe of God’s power, might, wisdom, omnipotence, His creation, His word and His attributes that are manifested in the relationship he had with the people of old .This fear also leads us to repentance. (Isaiah 6:5) which not only result from the revelations we have of Gods holiness ( What a holy Being is the great Jehovah of Hosts! There is no fault in Him, no deficiency, no redundancy. He is whole and, therefore,Holy.) but also from the realization that it is through Him that we move and breathe and have our being.

Blessed is the man whose heart is filled with that holy fear which inclines his steps in the way of God’s commandments, inclines his heart to seek after God and inclines his whole soul to enter into fellowship with God that he may be acquainted with Him and be at Peace.

A few ways in which we cultivate the Godly fear are:

  •            Through prayer, we ask God to put the fear of His name into our hearts .
  •             Feeding our minds with the scripture to experience thespecial revelations God has made in His word.
  •            Psalms 34:11 talks about teaching the fear of God.We cultivate Godly fear by surrounding ourselves closely with people who walk in the fear of God.

 

So what does a world without the fear of the Lord look like? I think it would look something like as mentioned in 2nd timothy 3

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”

“6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds,who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.”

And Romans 3:which talks about the unredeemed man who has no fear of God

Romans 3:12-18

“There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”[b]
13 “Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; [c]
“The poison of asps is under their lips”; [d]
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”[e]
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17 And the way of peace they have not known.”[f]

18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

 Always notice this distinction and observe that the fear which drives anyone away from God is a vice and a sin—but the fear that draws us towards God, as with silken bonds, is a virtue to be cultivated!

                                  Charles Spurgeon (from sermon titled “A fear to be desired”)

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8 thoughts on “A VIRTUE TO BE CULTIVATED

  1. Great sharing Sarah….thank you….”The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom ;a good understanding have all those who practise it.His praise endures for ever!(psalms 111:10)

    Liked by 1 person

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