Fearing God

Ok… I know this is a subject we can all relate to. How many times have you heard your grandma or grandpa say something along the lines of, “That boy just needs some fear of the Lord to set him straight” or “Nothing like the fear of the Lord to come shake you up” (in order to get the full effect, please repeat these phrases back to yourself with a southern accent).

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I could be wrong, but I think we’ve accepted an idea about fearing God that doesn’t necessarily reflect His nature. We are commanded to fear God in scripture, so why is there such a negative connotation attached to this command? And maybe that’s not the case for whoever reads this, but it has been for me. I didn’t realize until recently that I subconsciously thought the fear of the Lord meant walking on eggshells waiting for that “great and terrible” moment.

…but, of course, the Lord has come to change my mind. That’s what He does, right? He is on a constant pursuit to reveal His character so that we’ll change our minds (repent) from our ideas about who we think He is. He wants us to actually know Him. 

The fear of the Lord isn’t an emotion of fear, it’s a mindset, and it’s beautiful. It releases us into a life fully lived. It is a constant awareness, a constant knowing… that we will stand before One and not many. Someday we will not come before the accusations, judgments, and slander that slides off the tongues of men. We will come before a loving, just, holy, righteous, merciful Father.

I believe we’ll all have a moment in this life in which we’re forced to decide who it is that we’re truly living for, and I don’t think God orchestrates this moment as a test so much as He does because He loves us (though He does test those whom He loves). He knows that without the Fear of the Lord, we’ll be bound to the accusations that come against us in this life, to the words that come like arrows to our souls.

At the end of the day, we’ll seek the approval of whoever it is that we fear… we will crave the praise of whoever’s approval it is that we’re seeking. But if we learn to exalt Him high above all the other voices in our life, we will find… life. His word says so.

“In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, 

And his children  will have a place of refuge. 

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, 

to turn one away from the snares of death.”

Proverbs 14:26-27


One thought on “Fearing God

  1. This article is well written, to be sure, but I think it suffers from some of the same hackneyed philosophical problems that much of theology brushes under the rug.

    Namely, I’m talking about the problem of evil. I understand the beauty and the relief that many take from the assurance of heaven. But if you’re going to argue that God is “a loving, just, holy, righteous, merciful Father,” you have to contend with some very real, very difficult to justify considerations: children are raped in Africa, babies die in Tsunamis and people struggle all of their very short lives with painful, crippling disease. How could God put those things into the world?

    God, by his very definition, by his nature, is perfect. He is all knowing, all powerful, and all good (omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, respectively). Therefore, he is powerful enough to create a world without evil, and he would know how to do it, and if he’s completely good, then allowing any evil at all contradicts his nature. The standard conclusion that follows is that, therefore, God cannot exist.

    Without even pushing for the argument’s full, logical conclusion, I simply challenge your theodicy. That is, how can you say God is perfect, and therefore all good, yet he allows evil in the world?

    To give a more clear cut example, if you or I were walking by a pool, and we saw a toddler fall in and start to drown, would we be morally irresponsible if we did not act? Imagine now, that we were not only walking by, but we also happened to be trained life guards, and we knew without a doubt that we could rescue the toddler with no harm to ourselves. It seems that we would be morally culpable if we did not save the child. God could save every drowning child, and he could do so without even getting wet. Furthermore, he could simply make a world in which children never even started to drown, and therefore, needed to be saved. It seems that God is morally culpable for every evil phenomena, then.

    Obviously I’m not trying to be confrontational. By the very fact you’re willing to express your most important beliefs where they are open to public scrutiny and address is extremely admirable. I just think it is of paramount importance that momentous beliefs such as religion or ethics are always being challenged so that, in holding them, we know we hold the best possible views.

    Blake

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