I’ve been hearing a lot recently about the subject of fear, especially with how it relates to a Christian. There are a lot of headlines out there about how to “punch fear in the face”, and how that “fear constipates faith”, and so on. It seems as though fear has become a bad word in today’s Christian circles.
That’s all well and good, but let’s not be so quick to jump completely on that bandwagon. We need to remember that there is also a good kind of fear: the fear of God. This subject is not something we hear much teaching on. Honestly, when was the last time you heard someone speak on this subject? Are there any books out there that you can think of off the top of your head that have to do with the fear of God?
So what exactly is this fear of God and how does it fit in with all these anti-fear messages out there? Most people will say that the fear of God is simply a respect and reverence for God. I agree, but i think the meaning goes much deeper than that.
Reading Romans 3 really got me thinking about this subject. It talks about sin and the corruption of the human race. Verse 18 says “They have no fear of God at all”. When you think about this, it makes sense. At the root of every sin is this common denominator: no fear of God.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all discrediting those who preach about the limiting factor of fear and how it can hinder your Christian life. They are absolutely right. But take a look around you and ask yourself: Which is the bigger problem in society and even in Christian circles today? Is it fear? Or is it a lack of fear?
But to have the fear of God doesn’t mean that we cower in terror before God either. He’s not up there with a big stick ready to whack us when we sin. I’d like to compare it to the relationship between me and my dog Baxter. Baxter has a tremendous amount of love and respect for me and would do anything for my approval. He has a fear of offending me not because he fears punishment or torture, but because he is afraid of displeasing me, the source of his security and love. So a better definition of the fear of God would be a “wholesome dread of displeasing Him”. A God-fearing person is not necessarily afraid of God, but afraid of “what have I done to offend Him?”
Psalm 27:1-2 are well known verses that really tie in the subject of fear with the fear of God: “The Lord is my light and my salvation – so why should i be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should i tremble?” What these verses say to me is that when you fear God, you will fear nothing else! What a powerful way to live!
What does the fear of God mean to you and how does it apply to our everyday life?