This is the second of seven blog posts that are excerpted from my book, Steward Leader Meditations. It is my heartfelt prayer that this book of Scriptural texts, meditations, action steps and simple prayers will bless leaders on their journey toward kingdom faithfulness and effectiveness.
Part 1 – Dear Leaders: Sell Everything – Really!
Part 3 – The Crucial Difference Between Producing and Bearing Fruit
Part 4 – The Importance of Defining Success in Kingdom Terms
Part 5 – Who Are You?
Part 6 – What it Means to Be a Leader of No Reputation
Part 7 – A World at War – Are You Prepared to Lead?
May you be blessed by these texts, thoughts and prayers.
Teach me Your way, Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name. (Psalm 86:11)
Psalm 86:11 carries great meaning for me. I first really focused on this verse while on a recent trip to Hong Kong. Early one morning while going through my email I received a deeply disappointing piece of news. I was physically shaken. Knowing that I had several speaking engagements coming up (on the subject of trust in God, no less), I turned my laptop off, opened my Scripture, and began to read and pray. It was during those moments that my eyes found this wonderful psalm, and it changed my heart, my attitude, and my mind-set. It set me free to finish the week well, and it continues to be a source of blessings and challenge.
There is so much in this short Scripture that we will use it as a text for the next three devotions. For me, the centerpiece is found in the third phrase, “give me an undivided heart.” I have found that this verse speaks most powerfully if it is read in reverse. The reason that I have a divided heart is because I don’t really, fully fear God and God alone. So I start there and ask, “What does it mean to fear the name of God?”
There is an old saying that goes,
If you fear God, you will fear nothing else; if you do not fear God, you will fear everything else.
I find that to be very true in my life. Over three hundred times in Scripture we are told, “Fear not.” So why do we still fear things like financial downturns, personnel challenges, an uncertain future, failure of strategy, loss of reputation, and more? To the extent that we fear these things, we live with a divided heart. This is the reason we see our organizations as our “second kingdom.” We want to have control over those things we fear, believing that if we have the power over them, we can drive away the fear. Of course the opposite happens. The more we try to control, the more we realize how little control we have, which causes us to fear all the more.
The first question that arises from this text is simply this: what do you fear today? Fearing God does not mean terror or dread but being overwhelmed by His sovereignty, His awesomeness, and His authority over every area of life. Here’s the irony ‒ a proper fear of the Lord is our greatest comfort. It drove Paul to ask in Romans, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
What will it require for you to cultivate such a holy, reverent fear of God that all other fear will be driven from your life and leadership?
Look at a Bible concordance (likely in a good Bible study app) and look up ten verses that have the phrase “fear not” in them. Meditate on them today and ask God to cultivate in your heart an awesome fear of him that drives out all other fear.
Close your time with this prayer:
Awesome and Holy God, I confess that I have too often made You very small in my life. If You were to give me a tiny glimpse for one brief moment of Your true majesty, it would drive me to my knees in holy fear and humble worship. I do not fear who You are, because I know Your heart. I know that You love me dearly, that I am precious in Your sight. But I do not want to lose the sense of awe and wonder that comes from understanding Your holiness. Cultivate in my heart a proper fear of You. Help me become so overwhelmed by Your Majesty that my heart has no place remaining for the fear of anything else. Set me free from all other fear by Your amazing love. In Your mighty and awesome name I pray; Amen.