Essentials of Godly Success – Part 1
Joshua 1:8 (ESV)
8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
We are going to share in this series elements that will lead you to success in the different realms and compartments of your life.
So let’s start at the beginning!
The Fear of the Lord
Proverbs 1:7 (ESV)
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
o According to Joshua, the book of the Law or the Word of God, connects you to success.
o There is no success, no victory, and no sustaining mountain top experience without God’s Word.
The Fear of the Lord in Proverbs
o If you do a search on the ‘fear of the Lord in the Bible’, you will find elements that lead to wisdom and knowledge and instruction.
o If you heed those areas, you find success in those areas.
Proverbs 8:13 (ESV)
13 The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
o Perverted speech
o Perverted speech is not just cursing. It includes all conversation that is not in line with God’s Word. Unbelief spoken out of one’s mouth is perverted speech.
o The issues that deal with evil are ‘character issues’.
o Here is some wisdom to live by.
o When it comes to your talents and your abilities, ‘Focus on you strengths and forget about your weaknesses.
o When it comes to character, do the opposite, ‘Focus on your weaknesses and forget about your strengths’.
o Talents and abilities have to do with how God has wired us. He did not create you to be able to do it all.
o Sometimes disharmony occurs because one spouse, who has strength in a particular area, tries to ‘change’ their spouse who has a weakness in that same area. We were not crafted to ‘do it all’.
- Sometimes people misunderstand what spiritual growth is because they focus on how good they do in an area of strength. This is an incorrect view because some areas of strength have come through previous training and often from established childhood disciplines. The measure, though, of real spiritual growth is not viewing your area of strength but rather knowing how you much you have overcome your weaknesses.
o In a marriage situation, each spouse contributing his or her strengths makes the union significantly better.
Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 (ESV)
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
o When it comes to weaknesses, understand that these are areas that cannot be ignored.
o Sometimes working on sin ‘weaknesses’ means building safeguards, checks and balances. Sometimes it means complete avoidance of an area.
o Do not walk in arrogance thinking that ‘you can handle it’. You cannot handle a weakness with the power of your flesh since it is your flesh that is producing the weakness in the first place.
o It is not will-power that overcomes fleshly tendencies, but God’s power.
Proverbs 10:27 (ESV)
27 The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short.
Proverbs 14:26 (ESV)
26 In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.
Proverbs 19:23 (ESV)
23 The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.
Proverbs 22:4 (ESV)
4 The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life.
o In these four verses we have, in connection with the fear of the Lord:
o Long life
o Strong confidence
o Quality of life and satisfaction
o Riches and honor
What is the Fear of the Lord?
o The fear of the Lord is defined as a reverence for God.
o Reverence implies an intensity of respect
o Intense people receive Gods best.
o Casual folk get very little from God.
o There is an absolute depth to the fear of the Lord that is not understood by individuals that do not possess or pursue it.
Numbers 25:1–3, 6-8 (ESV)
1 While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. 2 These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. 3 So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.
6 And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting. 7 When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand 8 and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. Thus the plague on the people of Israel was stopped.
o This is an example of the ‘fear of the Lord’ – of deep respect for God and His Word.
o Phinehas demonstrated that ‘the fear of the Lord is to hate evil’.
o This situation is in the context of culture. So, do not try this on the next Jehovah Witness that comes to your doorJ.
The Fear of the Lord is a personal matter
o It should be expressed personally and is a matter between you and the Lord.
o How do you express ‘reverence’ for God in your personal life?
o There are some things that you should personally do – things between you and God alone – that demonstrate to God that you reverence Him and that you respect His Word and His will for your life.
Lawful Things versus Helpful or Expedient Things
1 Corinthians 6:12 (ESV)
12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.
1 Corinthians 10:23 (ESV)
23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.
o Paul states this exact principle twice to the Corinthian church.
o We, as believers are not under the law. We are not under the burden of ‘you can’t do this and don’t do that’.
o We have only one law to fulfill as believers and that is the law of love.
o We judge everything through the eyes of that law.
o We should constantly be in the habit of asking ourselves, ‘How does this action I am ready to take or these words I am ready to speak affect the circle of people that are part of ‘my world’?
o Lawful and helpful can be stated as ‘I can’ (I am legally entitled to this action) but ‘should I’ (is this action helpful or hurtful)?
o The law of love will help us differentiate between lawful and helpful.
o The law of love breaks down into two areas, loving God and loving man.
Matthew 22:36–40 (ESV)
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
o Additionally between these two areas, lawful and helpful, you will also find opportunities to demonstrate reverence and respect unto the Most High God. Reverencing the Lord is the first part of the Great Commandment or loving God with all your heart.
o That is things may be lawful for me to do, but I may choose not to partake of them out of respect for God.
o Fads that come from the world or originate with the world are in this area of personal choice I am speaking of.
o Based on ‘the friendship with the world’ principle found in James 4:4
o Ask yourself this question, ‘How am I going to demonstrate to God’ that I am not a friend of the world?
James 4:4 (ESV)
4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
o You can do that be voluntarily choosing not to partake of the world’s latest and greatest.
The Fear of the Lord as a Manifestation of the Spirit
o Note the phrase ‘fell upon’ or ‘came upon’ in the following verse.
1 Samuel 11:1–7 (AV)
1 Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabeshgilead: and all the men of Jabesh said unto Nahash, Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee. 2 And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, On this condition will I make a covenant with you, that I may thrust out all your right eyes, and lay it for a reproach upon all Israel. 3 And the elders of Jabesh said unto him, Give us seven days’ respite, that we may send messengers unto all the coasts of Israel: and then, if there be no man to save us, we will come out to thee. 4 Then came the messengers to Gibeah of Saul, and told the tidings in the ears of the people: and all the people lifted up their voices, and wept. 5 And, behold, Saul came after the herd out of the field; and Saul said, What aileth the people that they weep? And they told him the tidings of the men of Jabesh. 6 And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly. 7 And he took a yoke of oxen, and hewed them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the coasts of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, Whosoever cometh not forth after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done unto his oxen. And the fear of the LORD fell on the people, and they came out with one consent.
o Jabeshgilead – was a town in Manasseh – vs.1
o The condition of the covenant (vs. 2) Nahash laid out was ‘cutting out the right eyes’ of the men of Jabeshgilead which sounds extremely coarse for a modern day reader but actually this condition was a military maneuver intended to render the archers ineffective.
o Gibeah of Saul is the tribe of Benjamin. So, Manessah turns to his brother Benjamin for help. – vs. 4
o The Spirit of God came upon Saul and by the power of the Spirit (a little different than what you hear the Spirit of God doing) he cuts up an oxen and sends to all the brothers of Israel. – vs. 6
o And the fear of the Lord fell upon Israel. A reverence for God fell upon the people. Notice the phrase ‘fell upon’. –vs. 7. It is the same language as the Spirit of God coming upon Saul in the previous verse.
o If this fear fell upon them, it must have come from somewhere. It did. It came from heaven!
o The fear of the Lord falling upon people then is a manifestation of the Holy Ghost, as well as a personal point of reverence described above.
Other Scriptures that speak of the Fear of the Lord Upon
2 Chronicles 19:4–7 (AV)
4 And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again through the people from Beersheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the LORD God of their fathers. 5 And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city, 6 And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment. 7 Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.
o Jehosaphat said to the judges that he set up in the land to judge the people city by city ‘Wherefore let the fear of the Lord be upon you…’
2 Chronicles 14:12–14 (AV)
12 So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled. 13 And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar: and the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the LORD, and before his host; and they carried away very much spoil. 14 And they smote all the cities round about Gerar; for the fear of the LORD came upon them: and they spoiled all the cities; for there was exceeding much spoil in them.
o Asa defeated the enemies of Israel with the help of the fear of the Lord
2 Chronicles 17:10 (AV)
10 And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat.
o There are more manifestations of the Spirit than most people realize. Many are familiar with tongues, interpretation of tongues, the simple gift of prophecy and healing. But there is more!
New Testament version of the fear of the Lord
Acts 5:5,11 (AV)
5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. 11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
Acts 9:31 (AV)
31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
The Connection between the Fear of the Lord and the Anointing
o Why is this manifestation of the Spirit important?
o It is connected to the anointing!
Acts 2:41–43 (AV)
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
o Notice the four elements to the realm of the miraculous
o Breaking of bread
o These four elements added together with the fear of the Lord equals wonders and signs!