Updated: Sep 30, 2020
Proverbs 9:10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.
I grew up in what would be called a “mainstream” denominational church. I’m so thankful for the things that were instilled in my belief system, even if it didn’t ever really show up in the way I lived my life. They taught me that God was real, that we should be kind to people, and that wanted us to live “right”. But the most important thing I learned as a kid was what we refer to as the “fear of the Lord”.
But what does that even mean? Are we supposed to be afraid of God. Is He really the big, scary guy in heaven ready to zap us with a lightning bolt at the first misstep? Or is it something entirely different?
You see from the very inception of my relationship with God, “fear of the Lord” played a key role in who I am today and continues to do so. When God called me to ministry, I’ll be completely honest with you: I didn’t want to do it. In fact, I wasn’t happy about it at all. But this is where having a healthy “fear of the Lord” began to kick in. And it all started with one thought.
Now before I tell you the decisive thought that changed the course of my life forever, I’ll just tell you I’m not sure it’s theologically correct, so don’t over analyze it or build a doctrine on it. In fact, you might even laugh when you here it. I honestly thought:
“I guess I can either go into ministry or I can go to hell. Hell sounds worse than ministry, so I guess ministry it is.”
Now, I don’t know if my life would have ended up in hell and thankfully I will never have to find out. Here’s the point I want to make. It was having a good, healthy respect for God’s power that influence me in the right direction. And that’s what “fear of the Lord” means. It’s not being afraid of God, but respecting His position in our lives enough to obey, even when we don’t want to.
Jesus said it like this in Matthew 10:28: “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
What you need to know about God is that He is a father who is kind, loving, peaceful, inviting, welcoming, giving, and I could go on and on. But you also need to realize that He is all powerful, holy, full of glory, creator of heaven and earth, that He upholds existence with the word of his power, that he is Lord of Lord and King of Kings. And that my friends is why we should have a massive, healthy dose of “fear of the Lord”.
Father, I’m so grateful you’re a good, kind, and gracious God. But I also realize you are a holy, powerful, almighty God! I honor you today not only with my words but with my life. I choose to follow you whole heartedly. Whatever you ask me, I will do. Wherever you send me, I will go. I place you first in my life and as I do, you will fill me with wisdom!