When was the last time you heard a teaching on the fear of the Lord? It has probably been a while. We do not hear much about the fear of the Lord being taught in Christian circles today. The Bible tells us; “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). In other words, if we have a deep reverence and love for God, we will gain wisdom. We are also told in Proverbs 8:13; “To fear the Lord is to hate evil.” Maybe that’s why some who claim to be believers seem to have no conscience against a living a lifestyle that is clearly contrary to the teachings of scripture. There is no healthy sense of the fear of the Lord.
What is the fear of the Lord? To fear the Lord means to be in awe and to reverence Him. A healthy understanding of the fear of the Lord is simply to be awestruck by His power and presence. Our Father in heaven loves us perfectly. He wants the best for our lives. But remember, He is God and we are not. Our God created the entire universe and has all power and authority in His hand. So as Christians, we must possess a holy fear of the Lord.
This is not to say that God wants us to cower in a corner. This is unhealthy fear. The Lord does not desire for His children to be afraid of Him, but to honor and respect Him. God’s Word tells us that “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). In other words, where there is God’s perfect love, unhealthy fear cannot dwell; or to say it another way— where there is the presence of unhealthy fear, there is the absence of love.
However, if we love, honor and respect our God, we will want to obey Him, because the healthy fear of the Lord will give us a holy fear of sinning against Him and facing the consequences. I grew up with an earthly father who loved me. I was not afraid of him. However, whenever I was disobedient, I feared the consequences of the discipline I knew would follow. Yet, I knew that even the discipline was from a father who loved me. Our heavenly Father loves us so much, yet He hates sin, knowing it will destroy us.
Our God is a God of complete authority in the universe. Let’s ask the Lord to give us the grace today to experience the fear of the Lord. Expect to be awestruck by His presence!