Monday, April 20, 2009

The beginning of knowledge

Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

When I first heard this verse, I didn’t know the word fear has three distinct meanings. I would always imagine a person cowering before God, or he would face death by lightning bolt. Of course, I no longer have that vision. I now see God as a loving creator who sent a part of himself to suffer and die on the cross so that we can have life.

If you’re still confused on the distinction, here’s a brief description of each. One kind is an emotional response to a real or implied threat. This fear may not paralyze you, but it can stop you from accomplishing something. You could have a fear of going outside because you think pollution will kill you.

The second type is a fear induced by something or someone. This is where you get your phobias. Mine was always spiders. This type of fear will have a paralyzing effect on you if you allow it to persist.

Both of these are negative fears that can rip our emotional core to shreds. The good news is they can be pulled out of, by research, and facing them. That is what I did to get over my fear of spiders. I turned it into a research project, and I took close-up photos of them. Over time, I started respecting them and appreciating what they do for the world.

The last type of fear means awe, reverence, and veneration. This type of fear always has a positive outcome. Because of this fear, you are motivated to learn everything you can about God, and understand what he wants for your life. You are never paralyzed, and your self-esteem is strengthened.

The more you learn about God, the more you realize that he will always be with you, and you don’t have to cower before him. God wants you to revere him, and love him. He doesn’t want you dread him, or live in terror.

The way I learned to see it; reverence leads to learning (instruction); learning leads to knowledge; knowledge leads to discipline; and discipline leads to wisdom; and wisdom leads to God.

Foolish people always hate discipline. They feel like education is a joke, and that people who try to teach them are intruding on their good time. They always think about the short term. Live in the moment, never plan for the future, education does nothing for them.

The worst part of this philosophy is that they will search for meaning in their lives, but they’ll never find it. Their entire life becomes a seduction to emptiness. Their lives seem exciting, and full of intrigue, but that kind of life will eventually fade, and they will be left with nothing to show for it.

If you want to avoid a meaningless life, arm yourself with wisdom, discipline, and knowledge. This way leads to God, and a real life.

Challenge: Start a discipleship journal. It will help you keep track of what you learn, and your spiritual growth.


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