Well, our God is full of surprises. Almost only vegetating, captured in the dark night of the Spirit for a seemingly endless time, I had become used to only see my countless weaknesses, my failures, and my utter inability to bring forth anything which is good in God’s sight. Although I never felt condemned by what I saw inside me, I really longed to get rid of that old self which hindered me to do what God and I (!) really wanted to do (cf. Romans 7). Furthermore, satanic attacks day and night made sleep an almost impossible thing to do. My frail health and the conviction that I was in a worse spiritual condition as I had been before I would come to know Jesus in 1995 made me hate my old life. Somehow it dawned on me that there is no REAL life apart from being allowed to live in God’s permanent peaceful presence. Everything else is hell! Whatever I tried to get back to Him, it did not work any longer. My prayers resembled helpless cries for help and left me empty as if I had been talking with a dead wall instead of with the living God. It really felt as if God had abandoned me in a dark and frightening cellar, left without the hope to ever return to Him whom I once knew and loved. I recalled dimly that I had experienced several times of spiritual highs in the past that made me share the fear of God and Christ’s authority in me. However, I still had to deal with so many triggers because of deep wounds and fears inside my soul so that God had to take me through that “acid cure” where all that which is not of Him must eventually die.
So, you might ask now, what then is “the fear of God”? Is it something we should long for or not? Is it not enough if we know about the love of God? Well, if we know that God is love, we should also remember that Jesus said,
“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (Jn 14:1 ESV)
Some chapters before we are told by John the Baptist very plainly what will be the consequences if we do not obey Christ’s commandments. We read,
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (Jn 3:36 ESV)
Now think about it… What will we do if we hear God’s command, “Now go this way and NO other!” yet at the same time some people tell us to go another, easier and seemingly more pleasant way that appears to be more reasonable to them? What will we do if God tells us to draw a line between some nice and kind people and to offend them by telling them what He told us to tell them? Well, my dear brothers and sisters, we may know if we share in the fear of God on a permanent basis, our old life with our own wishes and desires including our people pleaser problems will be over. If we do not obey His voice then, it feels like being beaten in the face by God until we finally do what He wants us to do. With fear and much trembling (cf. 1 Cor 2:3), even physically at times, we listen to His commands then when He has given us the authority to do what He wants to be done and makes us fear Him more than anyone else on earth. However, if we try to resist doing what He commanded, we might feel as Jeremiah described here.
“Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary from holding it back, and I could not.” (Jeremiah 20:9 KJ2000)
Once again it was Michael Clark who gave me the proper Scripture and explanation as I shared my latest frightening experiences with the fear of God with him. At first I really tried to not do what God wanted me to do and it was like a fire in my bones as the Holy Spirit insisted that I did HIS will. For example, the day before yesterday God woke me up after only three hours in bed and would not let me sleep until I had done what He had commanded me to do, that is, writing a very harsh rebuke including a threat. And only after having done so, I felt that peace only God can give again.
What I found very helpful regarding the experience of “the fear of God” I just began to share with you, was an excerpt by T.A. Sparks where he explained the consequences of having been anointed by God.
What is the meaning of the anointing of the Holy Spirit? It is nothing less and nothing other than the Holy Spirit taking His place as absolute Lord. The anointing carries with it the absolute Lordship of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit as Lord. That means that all other lordships have been deposed and set aside; the lordship of our own lives; the lordship of our own minds, our own wills, our own desires; the lordship of others. The lordship of every interest and every influence is regarded as having given place to the undivided and unreserved lordship of the Holy Spirit, and the anointing can never be known or enjoyed, unless that has taken place.
Do you ask for the anointing of the Holy Spirit? Why do you ask for the anointing of the Holy Spirit? Is the anointing something that you crave? To what end? That you may be used, may have power, may have influence, may be able to do a lot of wonderful things? The first and preeminent thing the anointing means is that we can do nothing but what the anointing teaches and leads to do. The anointing takes everything out of our hands. The anointing takes charge of the reputation. The anointing takes charge of the very purpose of God. The anointing takes complete control of everything and all is from that moment in the hands of the Holy Spirit, and we must remember that if we are going to learn Christ, that learning Christ is by the Holy Spirit’s dealing with us, and that means that we have to go exactly the same way as Christ went in principle and in law… “The Son can do nothing out from Himself.” You see, there is the negative side of the anointing; while the positive side can be summed up in one word – the Father only. Perhaps that is a little different idea of the anointing from what we have had, “Oh, to be anointed of the Holy Spirit! What wonders will follow; how wonderful that life will be!” The first and the abiding thing about the anointing is that we are imprisoned into the Lordship of the Spirit of God, so that there can be nothing if He does not do it. Nothing!
By T. Austin-Sparks from: The School of Christ – Chapter 7
We might still wonder why God can be so rigorous at times. But meanwhile I am convinced that the reason to do so is His great love, once again. God sees where dangers approach us while we only sense them on a subliminal level. He sees where evil spirits try to get control of us by using other people who do not even know what they are doing because they have been blinded by Satan. Therefore God sometimes takes drastic measures in order to wake us up from our unmindful spiritual slumber. He wants to see us free and saved, not captured again by Satan’s cunning wiles. He then gives us the authority to set boundaries in places where our reason might still say, “Well, I see no dangers….. everything is normal.” But the spiritual enlightened mind sees more and knows that we do not fight against people if we split up with them. Instead, it sees the peril of falling prey to demonic spirits as soon as we open up our hearts toward others, Christians or not, who are still deluded by Satan although they might call themselves Christians, too. This might be a hard lesson to learn for us, my dear brothers and sisters, but it is necessary to also see that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12 ESV).
May God help us to do the proper thing in these cases and pray for those who do not know which spirit they are of. Amen.