Video by Joyce Meyer Ministries

Isabella couldn’t shake the feeling of unease as she looked around the dimly lit church sanctuary. It was her first time visiting this particular congregation, and something just felt…off.

The pastor seemed nice enough from the pulpit, but there was a heaviness in the air that made her skin crawl.

As the service wrapped up, she quickly made her way to the exit, desperate for some fresh air and space to process her thoughts. That’s when an older woman stopped her with a gentle hand on her arm.

“First time visiting us?” The woman’s warm smile instantly put Isabella at ease.

Isabella nodded. “Yes, actually. I’m just…trying to figure out if this is the right church for me.”

The woman’s eyes crinkled knowingly. “I understand that feeling all too well. When I first came here years ago, I had the same hesitation. But you know what finally convinced me?”

Isabella shook her head.

“The healthy fear of the Lord that permeates this community. It’s not a fear of punishment or judgment – but a deep reverence and awe for our heavenly Father.”

As the woman expounded on the importance of fearing God, something shifted in Isabella’s heart. Maybe this was exactly where she needed to be.

The Fear that Frees

The Fear that Frees

As strange as it may sound, the fear of God is not something to be avoided – it’s actually the catalyst for finding true freedom.

You see, when we have a proper perspective of who God is and His holiness, it intrinsically shapes how we view everything else.

The Bible makes this crystal clear in Proverbs 1:7 (ESV):

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Having a healthy reverence for the Lord is the starting point for wisdom, understanding, and right living.

But fearing God isn’t just an entry-level step we eventually move past. No, it’s a constant posture of the heart that keeps us grounded and secure.

Proverbs 14:27 (NKJV) says:

“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.”

When the fear of God is our guiding principle, we’re no longer gripped by fears like:

Instead, we find safety, security, and peace by setting our focus on the One who holds all things together (Colossians 1:17).

Reverence: At the Heart of the Fear of God

Benefits Of Living A Humble Life

So what exactly does it mean to “fear the Lord”? It’s not a cringing, paranoid fear of an abusive cosmic dictator.

No, the fear of God spoken of in Scripture is a unique blending of:

  1. Awareness of God’s presence: Living with an acute sense that God is real, alive, and actively involved in our lives (Hebrews 11:6).
  2. Faith in God’s character: Having complete confidence that God is good, loving, just, and worthy of our trust (Nahum 1:7).
  3. Reverence for God’s holiness: Recognizing God’s perfect moral purity and our own desperate need for His grace (Isaiah 6:3).
  4. Submission to God’s authority: Choosing to obey His commands and follow His lead because of who He is (James 4:7).

When we view God rightly and give Him the honor He’s due, it doesn’t lead to cowering terror – but to a sense of joyful awe, security, and freedom (Psalm 33:8).

Fear of God in the Life of a Believer

Fear Of God In The New Testament

The concept of fearing God isn’t just an Old Testament idea that gets swept away in the New Covenant.

Over and over again, the New Testament writers emphasize its paramount importance for every believer:

  • In describing the life of Jesus, Hebrews 5:7 says He “offered up prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence toward God.”
  • When instructing the church, Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 7:1, “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let’s cleanse ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
  • Speaking to the rich, James 2:5 says God chose “the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”

From the sinless Son of God to the lowest believer, the fear of the Lord is to mark every area of our lives.

Key Takeaways

  • The fear of God is the foundation for true wisdom, understanding, and right living (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10).
  • Fearing God means having an awareness of His presence, faith in His character, reverence for His holiness, and submission to His authority.
  • The biblical concept of fearing the Lord isn’t about being terrified, but about joyful awe, security, and freedom.
  • The fear of God frees us from other unhealthy fears that can grip our lives.
  • Both the Old and New Testaments emphasize the vital importance of fearing God for every believer.

At the end of the day, the fear of God is what shapes and anchors our lives on the firm foundation of who He is. It’s the beginning of wisdom and the pathway to abundant life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Isn’t fearing God just an Old Testament concept?

A. No, the fear of God is emphasized all throughout the Bible – both in the Old and New Testaments.

Jesus Himself modeled a life of reverence toward God the Father (Hebrews 5:7), and the New Testament writers instructed believers to cultivate the fear of the Lord (2 Corinthians 7:1, Philippians 2:12).

Q. If God is loving, why should I fear Him?

A. The biblical concept of fearing God isn’t about being terrified or afraid. It’s a unique blend of awareness of His presence, faith in His character, reverence for His holiness, and submission to His authority.

This “fear” leads to awe, worship, and freedom rather than dread.

Q. Doesn’t the idea of fearing God contradict having an intimate relationship with Him?

A. Not at all! Having a proper reverence and respect for who God is actually enhances our intimacy with Him. It keeps us grounded in humility and gratitude for His grace.

Just as Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” – it’s the starting point, not the end goal.

Q. What are some practical ways I can cultivate the fear of the Lord?

A. Spend time daily in God’s Word, allowing it to shape your perspective of His holiness and love. Practice the spiritual disciplines of prayer, worship, and obedience.

Surround yourself with others who model a healthy reverence for God. And consistently repent of sin and re-align your heart with the Lord’s.

Q. Why is the fear of God so important?

A. Proverbs makes it clear – the fear of the Lord is the starting point for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10). It also keeps us from harmful snares and paths of destruction (Proverbs 14:27, 16:6).

Essentially, fearing God is absolutely vital for righteous living.

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