Better is the end of a thing than its beginning. –Ecclesiastes 7:8 ESV
The process of becoming whatever it is you’re becoming is much like that of an uncut diamond becoming a jewel worth showing off. You have to experience the vice grip, the relentless grinding, and the inevitable loss of things that shape you.
Vice grips, grinding, chipping, and loss don’t feel like the ‘gentle’ touch of God we’ve been taught to look for. They feel like the opposite of our growth stunted idea of God. Especially when these things are most effective when they’re the result of hardship and trauma. The deeper the cut, the more effective the procedure. If you walk around like you’re a victim of life, like everybody else is causing your difficulty and making life harder than you think God wants it, then you’re rejecting the process and blaming your circumstances.
Scripture says that wisdom comes from the ‘fear of the Lord’. When you think of your version of God, is there reason to fear Him?
People usually reserve their fear of God for the times when they mess up. They fear the lightning strike, hell, or the removal of ‘blessings’. That’s a superficial fear and is, no doubt, keeping you trapped like a cow in narrow livestock shoot. You’re getting used to the claustrophobic faith. People can withstand an unimaginable amount of pain if they believe they’re doing it with an eternal spiritual payoff. Suicide bombers are able to do what they do because they believe that kind of death is the door between this world and 72 young virgins just for them.
Most religious motivation has nothing to do with devotion to God, it is intensely motivated by what the individual thinks they get from it. It’s a reward based devotion. Remove the reward, is there any devotion left?
Fear of the Lord has less to do with His angry punishment and more to do with the lengths God will go to when He’s intent on showing you who He is. There is nothing outside of His reach. He’s the God who turns evil intent into something that is good for you. This means, He doesn’t keep evil intent from you because He doesn’t have to. Even your own sin is used to bring about something good. This doesn’t make your own sin less painful to own up to, it only makes it easier to get up.
Do you know what it is to fear God when His intentions are awesome for you? The problem with being a human being is we usually don’t learn, grow, or become unless our world is horribly rocked or destroyed. We’re stubborn as mules and need to lose what we keep going back to, otherwise, we’ll never risk the loss for the trade-up.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding –Psalm 111:10 ESV
If you want to learn how to tap into that kind of ‘fear of the Lord’, then look at your life and consider the possibility that every bit of it is part of God’s plan. There are things, good and bad, that God allows and it’s always for a purpose.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can be in the ‘special forces’ of a spiritual army if you’re not willing to accept the terms of training. To reach the ‘fear of the Lord’ part, you have to undergo a complete undoing of everything in your faith that holds you together. Broken and destroyed to be rebuilt and re-birthed.
God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. –Romans 8:29
Look at what His son went through. You want to be a follower? You have to walk along His path. Jesus had no sin in Him. You do. You don’t get to pick the terms of how God chooses to mold you into who He has created you to be. We build things that we want, but if they’re keeping you from His purposes, then He will destroy them. It’s not a matter of keeping everything in line so that He doesn’t take it away, it’s a matter of doing your best knowing that He knows better and can use the wrecking ball of life to reshape you. You ask to be used, to have a purpose, to not be just another believer with no impact, then you go and reject the very process that God is using to answer your heart’s desire.
‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.‘ When you know that God is sovereign and that the will of another can never supersede His, then and only then do you have nothing to fear.
With God on our side like this, how can we lose? –Romans 8:31
Wisdom that comes from a ‘fear of God’ enables you to be patient with yourself and others in the most gut wrenching experiences. Wisdom enables the deep assurance of grace and reason. You may never know the answer to ‘why’, but wisdom keeps you locked in trust and assurance that everything will be worked out in His time and for His purpose.
Solomon said, ‘Better is the end of a thing than it’s beginning.’ Wisdom is knowing that there is a ‘thank you’ at the end of a horrible beginning.
You must bear the cross, or you shall never wear the crown; you must wade through the mire, or you shall never walk the golden pavement. –Charles Spurgeon