Fear of the Lord Is Good
The Bible tells us that this is because people have no fear of God in their lives: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting” (Romans 1:28 NKJV). And Romans 3:11 says, “There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God” (NKJV).
You see, the motive for humanity’s sinfulness is built in godlessness. This is the only explanation for the things that people are capable of.
This is why the fear of God is so important in the believer’s life.
Proverbs 16:6 NLT tells us, “By fearing the Lord, people avoid evil.”
One of the best definitions I have heard for the fear of God is “a wholesome dread of displeasing Him.” It is not a fear of righteous retribution. Rather, it is a sense of wanting to do what God wants you to do.
It is not about being frightened by God or afraid of what He will do to you. Rather, it is a love and a respect for Him to the extent that you want to honor Him and don’t want to do anything that would dishonor or displease Him.
The Wrong Kind of Fear
Jesus told the story of a man who entrusted money to his servants while he went away on a long journey. When he returned, two of the servants had invested the money and presented a healthy return on their investments.
But the third servant simply hid the money in the ground. When the master returned, he had nothing more to present to him. When the master asked why he had not even deposited it in the bank to at least earn some interest, the servant practically blamed the master. He effectively said, “You are a harsh man. I was afraid of losing the money, so I just hid it” (Luke 19).
What it came down to is this man had a faulty view of his master.
Many people have a faulty view of God. Many think that He is too harsh or demanding or unfair. As a result, they are motivated—or demotivated—by an unhealthy fear of God.
There is nothing wrong with fearing the Lord in the correct sense. In fact, the Bible commands us to do so. It even tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10 NKJV). While there is a proper fear of the Lord that should be in every Christian’s heart, that fear should be the respect of a loving child and not the dread of a frightened slave.
It was A. W. Tozer who said, “Nothing twists and deforms a soul more than a low or unworthy conception of God.”
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