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).
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.”