A Word from Dr Matt Brogli, Associate AMS:
As we take steps moving away from the pandemic, there is a desire to be cautious, hopeful, and faithful. Many speak of returning to “normal.” As I reflect on so much that has transpired before our time, in this pandemic, I wonder how much normalcy we should desire to return to. Did fear of the Lord consume our strategies, programs, and personal walks before we heard the words “Covid-19”? Fear of the Lord means that I carry around with me such a deep awareness, awe, and reverence for the power, holiness, wisdom, and grace of God that I would not think of doing anything other than living for his glory. Fearing the Lord means that this worshipful awe is the single and unchallenged motivator of everything I think, desire, say, and do. What does it mean to live an existence that is Christ-centered? It means that the fear of the Lord, more than fear of anything else, sets the agenda for our actions, reactions, and responses. (Proverbs 1:7)
The kingdom of self is driven by all kinds of other fears: fear of man, fear of discomfort or difficulty, fear of failure, fear of change, fear of not getting my way, etc. The principle here is that if God doesn’t own the fear of our hearts, he will not own our lives. You and I are always living to avoid what we dread. If we dread displeasing God more than anything else because our hearts have been captured by a deep, worshipful, and loving awe of him, we will live in new and glorious ways. Without a proper fear of the Lord, we become hopeless.
Hopelessness is lethal whether you have killed it or never nurtured it. You have heard the question, “Do you want to change?” Now you understand why such a question is essential. There are logical reasons to resist change. For example, what if hope creeps in? You might want to feel less miserable but not at the expense of awakening hope. Most likely, you want to change less than you realize. We all do. So we must not be deceived. We often choose hopelessness. But there is a way out. There is excited anticipation leading up to the upcoming vote on the recommendation to sell the property and invest it in future kingdom use. The first Town Hall meeting brought out nearly as many people as our Spring meeting, and it was a joy to see everyone gathered. As we see some opportunities for growth and some challenges in our association, it would be natural for us to resort to fear. What should we do in response to these fears?
Part of the answer goes back to what God says to people who fear. The connection is that fear, like hopelessness, is the reluctance to trust God for the future. God says that he will give you the grace to handle the disappointments that lie ahead; your task is to live for him in the present. At first, this feels reckless, as if you were enjoying the thrill of a speeding car when you are courting devastation at the next turn. But it isn’t reckless to trust in God rather than yourself. Therefore, to fight against hopelessness is to take action in the present. Action, when done by faith in God, is heroic and biblical. “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13 Regardless of where you stand on the vote, we stand together with Christ; and we are better together. Sandhills Baptist Association, let’s be driven by fear of the Lord and allow that biblical conviction to move us to action in our lives, churches, and association.
Grace and peace,
Dr. Matt Brogli