Tuesday, September 02, 2008

How You Can Be Praying For Me...Through Fearing God?

Some people have told me they will be praying for me while I am here at seminary, which I am extremely grateful for. Paul wrote to the Roman church:
I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf...
Flowing from that were some specific requests for prayer. With that in mind, I appeal like Paul to whoever reads this as a brother or sister in Christ to strive with me on my behalf in prayer:

  • To Know That I Am Known By God. This comes from Paul's letter to the church in Corinth. He begins writing about food for idols, but begins by briefly giving a general teaching about knowledge, arrogance, love, and God's knowing us, stating, "We know that 'all of us possess knowledge.' This 'knowledge' puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God." I find this extremely important for me as I come to a institution of learning to learn about God and His Word. I ask that I never lose sight of why I am here, namely because of my personal relationship with God through Christ which is rooted in love. Knowledge, like prophecy and tongues, is nothing without love (see 1 Cor. 13:1-3).

  • To Know The Love Of Christ Surpasses Knowledge. Knowing that I am rooted and grounded in love, I ask that you pray for me as Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus that I "may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge," that I may will then be "filled with all the fullness of God." Here I recognized that if rooted in love, living out of the joy of being known by God, my comprehension and knowledge with be of heavenly things, not worldly. These will help serve Christ's purposes more than 10,000 books read just for the sake of knowing more.

  • To Know That True Knowledge & Wisdom Are Rooted In The Fear Of The Lord. Solomon wrote in his many Proverbs that the beginning of both knowledge and wisdom are found in "the fear of the Lord" (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). My purpose of being here is not in vain. Pursuing knowledge is not wrong in and of itself. My prayer for myself--for that matter my prayer for all professing Christians--is that I pursue knowledge rightly, with the godly motive of love and the fear of the Lord.

This leads me to the conclusion of my prayer requests for now. More specific ones may arise, but for those of you praying for me, these requests will remain on the list for the remainder of my time here on earth.

I wanted to end with some words regarding the fear of the Lord because the term is somewhat misleading. I am reading this book by Graeme Goldsworthy called According To Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible for Biblical Theology that helps flesh out the phrase and its meaning in both a biblical and historical context. Here is what he has to say:
"Sin...involved a rejection of the order of creation and a refusal to accept revelation as the basis of true knowledge. It was the rejection of the principle that underlies the book of Proverbs: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" (Prov 1:7). We saw how important the process of thought was in the human relationship to God and to the creation. Crooked thinking led to crooked relationships. It stands to reason, then, that the process of redemption involves the restoration of the right way of thinking. The human mind is as much the object of regeneration as is the body or the soul.

If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Prov. 1:7) and the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10), what is it and where does it come from? According to Solomon's dedicatory prayer, the fear of the Lord is linked with the covenant and the ministry of the temple (1 Kings 8:38-43). This is not a terror of God, rather it is a response of reverent awe and trust to the redemptive revelation of God (Deut 4:10; 6:2; 10:12, 20-21). It is the Old Testament equivalent of trusting Christ or believing the gospel. The fear of the Lord is the response of faith to all that God has done to redeem his people, as he himself interprets what he has done by his Word. -pp. 173-174

As you pray for me, a prayer of mine for you is that out of trust and love in Christ you too will pursue biblical knowledge and godly wisdom, knowing that your mind is as much the object of regeneration as is the body or the soul.

Thank you for your prayers.

By His Grace.

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