The Lost Art of Fearing God
Our generation is losing the art of fearing God.
It’s out of fashion. The idea of fearing God does not have that “feel-good” draw, and since it’s hard to understand, we choose to put it out of our minds. We make our own happiness king, because God wants us to be happy, right?
We miss the eternal truth. We idolize ourselves and grow fat on the doctrine of grace.
The effects of this shift are wriggling their way into the cracks of our society. We’re already seeing the crumble.
I wonder, have we given up on reading the whole Bible? On reading it honestly?
Because the truth is, God’s love and grace should not be understood apart from His holiness and justice. Nor should His holiness and justice be understood apart from His love and grace.
“God is not your Grandpa,” as my mentor Jen once put it.
By that she meant, He’s HOLY! …He’s not a big teddy bear before whom I can do no wrong.
Yes, He is gracious. And yes, He is love! But that love is a fiery, fierce and jealous love. Our God is far more than we often give Him credit for.
A lack of understanding here will lead us to live mushy, ineffective lives.
Personally, my growing and reverent fear of God is an important safeguard to help me keep from sinning. Hopefully my knowledge of God’s love for me will be enough to motivate me to right living, but when it’s not, a healthy appreciation for God’s holiness will.
“The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.”Proverbs 8:13 (ESV)
As I’ve grown closer to God and better understand His word, I process my sin in light of His light. This leads me to take it seriously!
I repent to Him whole-heartedly and confess the sin to another Christ-follower. I realize, once again, my sinfulness. I’m reminded of the gravity of what He did for me on the cross.
This humbles me. It makes me grateful.
His grace means more to me when I feel the gravity of my sin. That’s good, because that’s the truest truth. When we fail to fear God, we minimize both our sin and His holiness. More than likely, we bring judgement down upon ourselves.
Some of us are uncomfortable with this concept. We prefer to ignore God’s anger against sin altogether. We piece together the truths we like, a God with whom we feel comfortable.
The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. Proverbs 14:27
What about seeking and knowing God on His terms and for who He really is –laying aside our “must” list for a God we would serve and diving into the Bible to know Him completely?
What about reading the Old Testament and recognizing that this too is a revelation of God… understanding that His character didn’t suddenly “change” when Christ came into the world?
If your full on grace and low on healthy “fear of God,” let me challenge you to branch out in your reading of scripture. Try the book of Isaiah. That’s what I’m reading!
How do you understand Biblical fear of God?
“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,” Deuteronomy 10:12 (ESV)
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. Psalm 25:14″
“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.” Matthew 10:28