Drive Out All Fear
“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 shook. Knowing that I had several speaking engagements coming up (on the subject of trust in God, no less), I shut 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 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? Here’s a challenge: look at a Bible concordance 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.