So much is going on in the world...and to be honest, none of it looks good! In fact, we would use the word, "toxic." Why? Because the more we watch the news and bathe in worldly happenings, it can become corrosive to the Spirit which dwells in us.
So let us rejoice in the one who has blessed us with "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places!"
Below is audio of a recent leadership training that Bishop conducted. In it, he covers 10 foundational areas that can strengthen the leader and any Christian for that matter.
We have included a few of our favorite clips from speakers at the upcoming Fear of God Conference. They cover the fear of God in America, the church, our family and children.
Take a quick listen--they're each about 60 seconds long!!
How was the fear of God present in early America?
Bishop explains that the fear of the Lord impacts culture. It did at one point in America. The fear of the Lord produced a society that honored God’s name, that honored pastors, elders, the home. These characteristics were present even in non-church goers.
By and large, the church was very home and family-centered. God’s Word was honored. There was more respect for elders. There was a certain decorum in dress. The fear of the Lord was embedded in the culture at large. However, we have since lost the blessing of having a culture that acknowledged that there is a God that will one day judge them for their actions.
Revelation 15:4 (NKJV) – “Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested.”
How does the fear of God manifest itself in the life of both an unbeliever and believer?
Bishop explains that the fear of the Lord is manifested in the life of a believer by the love, reverence, awe, and passion that prompt the believer to obey God. It is the state of mental and emotional sanctification where the believer sees God as holy, and a reverent trembling results. It is the necessary characteristic of Christian discipleship where total obedience to the commands of Christ is seen as a loving response to a loving God.
It is a behavior-restraining element even in the hearts of those individuals who do not follow Christ. It is a cultural acknowledgment in the hearts of man regarding the laws of God. It is a necessary component to a godly society and it is an understanding that God will one day judge the earth and all who ever lived.
Romans 14:11 (NKJV) – "For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”
How is the fear of God a blessing?
In this video, Bishop explains how the fear of the God is a blessing to believers. Once the believer begins to see who God is, how great He is, how awesome He is, how loving and how holy He is, there is a reverent trembling that results. God has saved us from the pit of hell. How can we purposefully continuously displease Him? I dare not do such a thing!
It is a part of discipleship, where the believer sees God as being supremely holy. The blessing comes when the believer says to himself, “I dare not sin against this God, I dare not hurt this God who has healed all of my hurt.” Ask yourself if there are sins or desires in your life that you're stubbornly refusing to surrender to God and repent of them.
James 1:17 (NKJV) – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
What happens when leaders of the church do not fear God as they ought?
Mala Chindongo explains in this video that one problem in the church is that often, church leaders start with an inward focus and wrongly believe that everything is all about themselves. Instead of fearing God, they have no fear of God and instead, pursue the things that build themselves up.
Yet, when the whole ministry becomes about the pastor, anyone who stands in the way is seen as a threat. Thus, the entire church is tainted by this prideful church leader. So many negative consequences result because the pastor was looking at the church as his “project” instead of realizing it that it is God’s church and fearing Him.
James 4:6 (NKJV) – “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”
How can the fear of God change the way a church operates?
In this video, Bishop explains how he, as a pastor, was initially focused on what those attending his church would want instead of turning to Scripture to understand the will of God for church life. He realized that he would have to face God one day for how he led his congregation. He also understood how much he displeased God by leading the church himself instead of seeking God’s will. Ultimately, the fear of God led him to change various aspects of church life.
Galatians 1:10 (NKJV) “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.”
When leaders of a nation do not fear God, the results are disastrous.
Mala Chindongo illustrates this idea by explaining how in Malawi, the economy is in shambles. Millions of people are struggling just to make ends meet. He explains that the reason why this happened is because Malawi had leaders who did not fear God.
The leaders were involved in financial corruption and they and their people have suffered the consequences.
If only they feared God and believed that He is omnipresent and omniscient and that nothing they do, even in secret, would be hidden, things would be much different. Yet, we are sadly seeing the harvest of what evil leaders have sown many years prior.
Are we setting a good example of fearing God for those around us?
Psalm 146:3-4 (NKJV) – “Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day his plans perish.”
How does the fear of God benefit all areas of life?
In this video, Mala Chindongo explains that the fear of God is everything in life – it brings order to society, order in our homes, and order in the heart of a man. There is a saying in Africa that a man who does not fear God is a beast.
This is true in life. If you don’t fear God, you have a seared conscience and if you do not fear God, you will not respect other individuals. This lack of the fear of God has resulted in people worshipping their ancestors, murdering children, or even dictators killing people because of a dislike of them. This is evidence of a lack of a fear of God.
This idea has played out again and again throughout history. In places that do not have any knowledge or fear of God, we find cannibalism and all kinds of abuses going on. In contrast, when the Gospel is preached, things dramatically change when people's hearts are regenerated.
1 Timothy 4:1-2 (NKJV) – “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron”
How does the fear of God affect the lives of our children?
Jason Dohm shares how he and his wife could tell right away when each of their children became regenerate. They noticed a definite change, a change that was connected to the fear of God.
When their children became regenerate, many of their children had a pattern of deception – but when they became born again, they became much more trustworthy. He explains how he would attribute that change to them as knowing that God was in the room, realizing that everything they did was known, and how he and his wife didn’t have to be present with them because they knew God was present. They were beginning to fear the Lord even more. Their hearts were changing. What a merciful and good God we serve!
Ezekiel 11:19 (NKJV) – “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh.”
How does your family help you fear God?
Craig Houston explains in this video that he doesn’t want to fail his wife, children, and his church congregation and cause them to stumble – each of them serve as positive restraining works of the fear of the Lord. Throughout Scripture, we can read of the blessing that results when a man fears God, lives a godly life, and raises his children to also fear God. In contrast, we also see what occurs when a man has no fear of sinning against God and gives himself over to his flesh and the disastrous effects it has on himself and his family.
Psalm 91:9-12 (NKJV) – “Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone."
How should the fear of God impact what we say when we evangelize?
Paul Washer gently reminds us that it is only the Spirit of God that can create a fear of God in an unbeliever’s heart. We are not the cause of a new heart in an unsaved soul. When evangelizing an unbeliever, we must first explain who God is, what His law is, and His plan of redemption instead of starting with wrath and condemnation. Then, the Spirit of God will work to create that fear in people’s hearts. Taking the time to sit down with an unbeliever, answer questions, and explain biblical truths is an avenue through which the Spirit of God can work to create the fear of God in their heart.
Ezekiel 36:26 (NKJV) - I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.