Fear Without Fear
You've probably seen guys and girls in T-shirts displaying the motto that screams, "NO FEAR!"
Well, that might be a cool attitude to show off if you are a football player or a member of the wrestling team, but it's a dangerous mindset to depend on when it comes to dealing with God. In fact, the Bible tells us, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Proverbs 1:7, ESV).
What does it mean to "fear" the Lord? Let's see what the Bible has to say about it.
What Does God Say?
The Old Testament prophet Samuel told the people of Israel, "Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you" (1 Samuel 12:24, ESV). Later, King Solomon said, "The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death" (Proverbs 14:27, ESV).
If you are rejecting God or His Word, the fear of the Lord may involve a haunting dread of death, judgment for your sins and eternal punishment to follow. It is the fear of meeting a holy God after an ungodly lifetime. It is the fear that comes from what Proverbs 14:27 calls the "snares of death."
But if you have trusted Christ as your Savior, then the fear of the Lord means reverence for God and a healthy respect for His awesome Person. It's fear relieved by God's love for you and by your confident response of love for Him.
Take a careful look at what Moses told the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 10:12-14, 20-21:"And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good? Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it....You shall fear the LORD your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen" (ESV).
Do you see the requirements God gave to Israel--fear God, walk with Him, love Him, serve Him, obey Him, hold fast to Him? His requirements for Christians today are no different. You aren't bound by the Laws of Israel, but by the law of love--and 1 John 4:18 tells you, "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love" (ESV).
God promises great blessings and benefits when you fear Him. Here are a few verses that you may look up, then jot down the benefits you discover in the verses.
What benefits of fearing God that you saw in the above verses are most encouraging to you?
Think about the awesomeness of God. Do you see areas of your life where you should show more reverence and respect for Him? Consider what things you would like to change so that your life better reflects your love and fear of God (for example, your talk at school or in the workplace or your thought life).
If your fear of the Lord is a dread of seeing Him face-to-face someday, you can turn to Christ for forgiveness of your sins, accept His offer of the free gift of salvation and experience His perfect love, the love that casts out fear (1 John 4:18).
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