Jobless; I didn’t know who I was anymore.
I knew I needed a change, but what I didn’t realize was that my identity had become tied up, and defined by, my vocation.
It was hard to know who I was anymore. I felt like I had lost my identity and purpose.
Deep feelings of fear—of not knowing who I was anymore—debilitated me. I panicked that I would have to come to terms with the fact that I was just a lost soul, looking for direction, when I felt like I had none.
The pain felt apparent now—more than ever—as I questioned my identity and what I chose to root it in.
As I searched inwardly with Jesus in prayer, dismayed, I learned that this choice to take a pause in my career was wise.
It was allowing me to acquire the wisdom and strength to truly start my journey of basing my identity in Christ. That started with fearing the Lord.
No matter our circumstances, or our choices, we don’t have to fear anything but God. Fearing the Lord is crucial for a strong identity in him, as it sets the foundation for walking in truth and being confident in it.
Job, a well known biblical figure who endured much suffering, shows us we can fear the Lord.
He was a man who feared the Lord greatly and respected him at all costs. We read this in Job 1:1 (NIV): “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.”
He stood strong in who he was in the Lord, despite the many trials and hardships that had come to him—losing everything: his children, home, health, and more.
Yet, his struggles allowed him to acquire wisdom as he feared the Lord and showed great humility. We see this expressed by Job himself in Job 2:9-10 (NIV): “His wife said to him, ‘Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!’ He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’ In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.”
We can learn a lot from Job: how fearing the Lord is essential for growth, and to stand strong in him.
Job demonstrated three practical things that we can do to fear the Lord in hard times.
1. Praise God in our struggles
It’s not always easy to praise God in our hardships. Our first response might be to complain, feel self-pity or even want to hide under the blankets and isolate ourselves from the world.
Yet, Job shows us that praising God is important in hard times. His fear of the Lord allowed him to go to this place instead of exhibiting negativity towards his circumstances.
We read this in Job 1:20-22 (NIV): “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’ In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”
He didn’t accuse God of doing wrong to him because he respected God for who he was.
He simply praised God. By this example, we too should praise him with our whole hearts even in our struggles.
2. Humbling ourselves before the Lord
We don’t always understand why our struggles happen to us. It can feel hard not to have that understanding, but when we fear the Lord like Job did, we can know that God’s ways are best—so why question?
We see this in Job 9:19 (NIV): “If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty! And if it is a matter of justice, who can challenge him?”
Job knows that we don’t need to question God on what happens. We need to instead humble ourselves before the Lord, as he did. This shows that we fear God and trust him.
3. Prayer in our hardships
Prayer is so important when we are struggling. It brings us closer to God. It shows him that we respect him by coming to him. Our fear of the Lord is evident when we choose to pray.
Job prayed in his great struggles. He spoke with God often about his raw emotions within the hardships he endured.
He was open, honest and vulnerable. We can do this too in order to walk in the fear of the Lord.
Job feared the Lord and we should too. Fearing the Lord is vital to allow us to grow deeper in our relationship with Jesus, and root our identity in him.