We’ve all likely heard the phrase, “God fearing Christian,” and things of that nature, but what does it really mean to fear God? What does it really mean when people say, “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom?”
A few months ago I started an article series, Faith VS Fear and the Duality of God. I want to work on completing that series over the next week or two. I’ve written some about how there is a healthy fear of the Lord and one that leads us down a path of doubt, legalism, and other things that are not good for us as believers.
Here, I want to expand on these ideas a little more in terms of trust. What do unbelievers trust in and what should believers trust in? If we discover that our trust falls more in line with an unbeliever, then it’s probably a good idea to seek Jesus to help us refocus our trust so that it is placed in Him more fully.
In Whom Does the Unbeliever Trust?
Those who do not fear God are those who should fear Him the most. Even so, they trust in their own knowledge, science, structures, and man-made attempts at prolonging life and postponing death. They fear other men and their opinions, what they can do with their weapons, and how they might be punished by man.
The trouble is, when the wrath of God is upon them, all the things they trust in will be of no use to them. Buildings will crumble and fall. Presidents and other rulers will all eventually fall. Science fails. And eventually, all men and women will die.
It does not matter how much mankind unites in peace, combines their intellect, and works together to create their own kind of Eden– without Jesus Christ as the foundation of their plans, everything they trust in and everything they plan will come to nothing.
In Whom Should the Believer Trust?
As a believer, we should trust in the Lord and not man. That is what a healthy fear of the Lord is. It means we understand that Jesus is the only way and we take all things pertaining to our salvation very seriously, testing all knowledge and doctrines that others would try to mingle into the faith that do not belong but instead pervert the gospel.
It means that we focus more on pleasing God than what other men and women think about us. It means placing our focus on the kingdom of God rather than trying to build up the kingdoms of this world or our own riches. It means that we know all things are given to us by God and all that we have could be taken away in an instant, but because God loves us, we don’t have to fear anything this world can throw at us – because we have something they don’t. We have power over death.
Our fear of God should be more like an awe-inspiring respect for His immense power and equally immense love and mercy. When we take time to think about who God is and the fact that everything is upheld by Him, why should we fear the weapons of man or what they can do? Instead, we should have a great respect for God and the sacrifice of Jesus – a respect that leads to something more than a faith laid up in a napkin and buried in the earth (Luke 19).
In God We Trust…Or Do We?
There will come a day when the whole world will see the power of God, and those who do not fear Him now will be in terrible fear then. But, we should not be. We should rest in the Lord and rejoice because the Day of our Lord is at hand! Sure, this isn’t called a time of trouble for no reason. We will probably suffer, but I believe that God will give us all the peace we need to endure.
This world is hard for believers and non-believers alike. But, in Jesus Christ we have rest from these troubles – and when That Day is upon us, He will be our refuge and our strength and our hope. I will write more on why Christians should not fear end times in another article within this series, but for now, I think we should all consider these kinds of things.
What is it that we really have to fear? If death does not even have a hold on us, then what can any man do to us that Jesus cannot overcome? If you have struggled with a kind of fear of God that makes you doubt your salvation or fall into other mindsets that distract you from the mercy and love of Jesus, then please read the articles in the The Severity of Sin and the Mercy of Jesus series found on this page, and continue following as we explore what a Godly “fear of the Lord” should be like.
This article is Part 2 of the series, Faith vs Fear and the Duality of God.
Introduction: Faith VS Fear and the Duality of God
Part 1: Fear Leads to Much Sin. Jesus Frees the Fearful.