Grow inthe grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. -2 Peter 3:18, emphasis added
The fear of the Lord is a reverential, awesome awareness of how holy God is, and how unholy we are. The phrase "the fear of the Lord" is repeated often in the Bible, but it does not tell us that we are to live in an attitude of terror, for God has not given us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). As God's children we are to reverence the Lord so much that we will not deliberately disobey Him or try His patience. We must have a holy respect for God.
Consider this illustration: When I was a little boy, one of my friends was mowing the lawn barefooted. He was pushing the mower up the side of a drainage ditch and got distracted. The mower rolled back down and cut off his toes. It is hard to walk without toes because they help us balance. For the rest of my time growing up, I remembered the great difficulty that boy had, so I learned to fear the lawn mower. No, I don't lie awake at night thinking it was going to come out of the garage and get me, but when I start the mower, I have my children stand back out of the way. And when I push it, I always remember how quickly that spinning blade can do great damage. My fear of the lawn mower caused me to be respectful of its power, and to do nothing that could lead to harm in my life.
Our fear of God should likewise cause us to respect His power, and do nothing that could lead to His displeasure and consequent chastisement. While it is true that we can now boldly come to Christ, we must always remember who He is: He is always God. If we cultivate this kind of fear, we will realize that there is great benefit in fearing Him. Here are some of the benefits that are ours through fearing the Lord:
- Fearing the Lord shows us what can last forever: The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever (Psalms 19:9). If you will attach your life and all your desires to Him, what you do, what you are, and what you have will last for eternity.
- Fearing the Lord gives eternal wisdom: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments (Psalms 111:10). Fearing God and obedience always go together. If you fear God, you will obey Him.
- Fearing the Lord reflects the eternal character of Christ: The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him [the promised Christ], the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. His delight is in the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2-3). This is a prophecy of Christ, like the one in Isaiah: the seven-fold Spirit of God-the complete ministry of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ. When we fear Him, as we yield to His Spirit, we will reflect the holy character of our triune God and be walking in Christlikeness.
- Fearing the Lord produces eternal riches: Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, and the strength of salvation; the fear of the Lord is His treasure (Isaiah 33:6). Our real treasure is found in fearing the Lord; even things like economic upheavals cannot take that treasure away.
This is the wonder of Christ: you can make a decision right now that will totally transform how you experience Him. Remove the idea that you are just a spectator and engage yourself by participating fully in worship and service to Him, whether at church or in daily life. As you ponder what has been said--all that lines up with the Word of God--respond wholeheartedly by saying "Yes!" to the Lord.
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