Fear and Comfort

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Contributed by Brian Shifflett, Worship Pastor at Image Church

Recently, while in the book of Acts, I was stopped by a verse that would normally be easy to just glance right over.  In fact, I’m sure I have done just that before, because I have read the book of Acts in the past yet never had a second thought about it.  Acts 9:31 says:

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied (Acts 9:31 ESV).

This verse appears right after a huge turnaround for the church.  One of the key players in the persecution of the church, Saul, has been converted in a radical way. No one could have dreamed that the one who was imprisoning Christian believers would become their biggest advocate and most powerful missionary. But Jesus turned things around, and peace fell upon the church.

The verse continues on to say that the church walked in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.  Fear and comfort may first seem like opposites.  But they are not at all.  John Piper describes walking in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit as being in the eye of a hurricane.  There is calm, peace, and hope within the eye of a hurricane, while the fearsome power of the wind swirls all around.

I urge all of us to live with this type of fear and comfort; resting in the arms of a sovereign God, yet never forgetting His mighty power.  No matter where we are at in our personal lives or in the life of our church, Jesus can turn things around at any moment.  He did it in the life of Paul and the early church, and if you believe He is alive and well today, He can do it again.

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