The church then had peace throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, and it became stronger as the believers lived in the fear of the Lord. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers. —Acts 9:31

The church in the United States has experience peace for a long time. It is possible according to the verse above for the church to grow during a time of peace. How does that happen? Well we are told that the church grew stronger because it lived in the “fear of the Lord” and it also grew in numbers “with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit.”

What is the fear of the Lord? Well, we are told in Proverbs 8:13 “To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” Romans 12:9 we are told “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.” The fear of the Lord is to love the things that He loves and to hate the things that He hates. As the church was living this way the Holy Spirit of God encouraged them and the church then also grew in numbers.

Could it be that not “fearing the Lord” is the problem with individuals and churches as to why they are not maturing in strength or in numbers? Are individuals and churches not maturing or growing in numbers because there is not a hatred of evil, but participating in it? Is the Holy Spirit of God being grieved and quenched because of a lack of righteous, holy living? Hebrews 13:28-29 says “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” Do we have this reverence and awe and are we thankful in our worship of God? Are we just going through the motions?

Dear Father, please help me to live a more holy life for You by the power of the Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. May I be in awe of You and have a thankful heart for Who You are and all that You do. May it be so!

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