“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy one is understanding (Prov. 9:10).”
In the Bible, the word “fear” has many connotations. For instance, fear can mean respect in the way an employee views his or her boss (Josh. 24:14). It can refer to a scary or dreadful situation (Deut. 5:25). Lastly, fear can be associated with a deep sense of reverence or awe (Isa. 6:5). Fearing the Lord is a mixture of all three.
Jesus explicitly said in Matthew 10:28: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Of course, the one who has authority over our eternal fate is God.
When I got in trouble as a kid, my Mom would send me to my room until Dad got home. My room was right above the garage so when I heard it open, I waited in anticipation for my Dad to call me downstairs.
“Chad, get down here now!” he would yell. I would slowly walk downstairs into the kitchen. “Sit down,” he retorted. When I would sit down, he would always say to me with his index finger tapping the table, “Look at my eyes. Did you disobey Mom? Were you being disrespectful to her?”
“Yes,” I nervously responded. He answered back, “You need to change your attitude and apologize to her right now.” I ended with, “Yes sir.” And that was the end of our discussion.
That moment of fear made me change my attitude and led me to ask Mom for forgiveness. Immediately afterward, our relationship was restored. Thus, discipline from my Dad was a good thing because the goal was reconciliation. It also gave me the wisdom to resolve this situation in a positive way.
This analogy is true with our Heavenly Father. When we disobey Him, he gets upset. Sin is really distorting God’s creation. For instance, when we lie, we distort God’s law of truth. When we lust, our minds pervert its original intent for marriage. Since God is holy and good, He must hate what is unholy and evil.
While God hates sin, He desires all people to repent and believe in the gospel. Scripture says God is not slow in keeping his promise. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9).
Repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change of action. Instead of lying, we tell the truth. Instead of falling for the temptation of greed, we act generously towards our neighbors. Healthy fear, knowing that God will judge us for practicing evil, motivates us to do what is “good, true, and noble” (Philip. 4:8).
God’s whole goal is to transform us into His image so He would be magnified on the Earth. Will you let him do that? Then fear God and you will begin to grow in wisdom and holiness that brings honor and glory to Jesus. Have a blessed day!