The Fear of God: The Positive Fear
Text: Psalm 145:19, Proverbs 22:4, Psalm 112:1.
Memory Verse: “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and His children shall have a place of refuge”. Proverbs 14:26
I wonder what comes to your mind when you hear the word “fear”. There is a chance that the word “fear”, reminds you of something bad that happened to you while growing up or a challenge you are currently facing. I don’t think that anyone has anything positive to say about fear. I want us to understand that fear does not exist on its own; fear is always a reaction to something. For example, the fear of the dark is just a negative reaction to the dark. Once the light comes on, the fear of the dark disappears because fear cannot exist on its own. It just creates a false reality that doesn’t actually exist. However there is a type of fear in the whole world which causes a positive reaction rather than a negative one. This fear causes us to flourish and grow in our relationship with God, and that is the Fear of God. It is the most positive fear in the world! Let us look at it briefly.
For an unbeliever, the fear of God is the fear of the judgment of God and eternal death which means eternal separation from God (Luke 12:5, Hebrews 10:31). For the believer, the fear of God is much different. For a child of God, the fear of God is reverence (Hebrews 12:28). This reverence and awe is what the fear of God means for Christians. In Proverbs 1:7, the Bible tells us that “the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge”. So until we understand who God is and develop a reverential (i.e. respectful) fear of Him, we cannot have true wisdom. Biblically, the fear of God for the believer is to understand how much God hates sin and doing everything possible not to sin against Him.
As children of God, we should understand that the fear of God is good because it saves us from giving in to our sinful nature. This is why hearing that someone is God-fearing; makes us trust that person more because we believe that if they fear God, they are more likely to keep their word without disappointing us, and treat others with kindness.