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Understanding The Fear of The Lord, Proverbs 1:7 Loving God


Bible Open to John 3:16

 

Have you ever considered the essence of fearing the Lord as a Christian?

 

Proverbs 1:7 NET - Fearing the LORD is the beginning of moral knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

 

Our reverence and awe for God deepen as we delve into His nature, paralleled by our understanding of His immense love for us. He loved us even when we were lost in sin. It's crucial to recognize that the fear experienced by the world differs vastly from that of believers.

 

Romans 10:9-11 NET - because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation. For the scripture says, "Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame."

 

The Word Fear


Fearing God is not the same sort of fear that we might feel when we watch a horror movie or have something terrible happen to us at someone else's hands. God is trustworthy. He keeps his word, and His anger is never out of place or unjust.

 

Because human beings are blessed with free will, we can reject him and act outside of the principles and commands that God has laid down for us. When we do this, even as believers, we will sometimes face the consequences of our actions. Which is very different from the trials that are allowed into our lives to shape and move us.

If we do drugs, we can and often do become addicted, with all the heartbreak that addiction can bring to our lives. If we have sex outside of marriage, we can have pregnancies, STDs, and spiritual consequences that haunt us. If we steal and are arrested, we suffer the consequences of our actions, and God will allow this to happen. But what we do not have to fear if we are saved is the ultimate separation from God that those who are unsaved will face.

 

Having delved into this subject, many of us may have heard descriptions like "respect" to define the fear of the Lord. While respect is undoubtedly a part of the concept, it's not the entirety of what fearing the Lord is. The Bible repeatedly underscores that fearing God encompasses a spectrum of attitudes and behaviors and fear is a part of it all, but what type of fear?

 

          If you look up the word fear in a dictionary, you are likely to find this definition: Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.

 

          Is it any wonder that those who have this understanding of the word view a healthy and correct fear of the Lord so poorly? As believers, God is not our enemy, and we should not fear him in the way that the world describes fear. God is not dangerous, treacherous, or a threat. Those among us without faith often do fear God this way but do so with an incomplete view of God.

 

Grasping the steadfastness of God's character can be challenging because we are not like him. His anger is always just, whereas a human’s can be unjust. His judgments are fair in contrast to our own, which can be colored by sin. He embodies wisdom, and He is unlike any earthly authority that we can compare him to. He tells us what is expected, what is right, and what is wrong. We are not left in the dark trying to please a deity that is unknown to us.

 

For those who've endured a background of abuse, grappling with this concept can produce complex emotions. I, too, wrestled with this, having grown up in an environment where I had to gauge my parents' mood before speaking or acting because I was afraid of their anger. Yet, God is distinct.

 

The fear He desires from us isn't rooted in such experiences; instead, it's born of a reverence and understanding of who He is, his unconditional love, and his appeal to human beings to enter a relationship with and trust in Him.

 

To truly grasp this for those of us who may be struggling, I suggest delving into a study of God's character and love. This love made our salvation possible despite our transgressions and invites us into a profound relationship with Him.

 

When we fear God, we offer Him our highest reverence, characterized by deep respect, love, and awe. It entails recognizing our accountability before Him. Ideally, this fear should cultivate genuine gratitude, piety, a steadfast belief, and morally upright conduct within us. Not based on punishment but on love and gratitude for God's goodness and faithfulness.

 

Fearing the Lord encompasses much more than we often give credit for. There is fear, but it is fear tempered with trust and love. If you have a good example of appropriate authority in your life, then this is easier to understand. Even when you go against the wishes or rules of a loving father, his love for you is never in question, even when you face the consequences of your disobedience.

 

Often, healthy love and respect for the other person are enough to prevent us from doing the things that we are not supposed to do, and that is more in line with how a Christian should view the fear of the Lord.

 

Ultimately, fearing the Lord entails acknowledging His rightful place in our lives as God, Creator, Savior, and King—placing Him above all else. It demands our entire being. The action of fearing the Lord is summed up perfectly in Jesus' response about the greatest commandment.

 

(Mark 12:29-34 NET) Jesus answered, "The most important is: 'Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." The expert in the law said to him, "That is true, Teacher; you are right to say that he is one, and there is no one else besides him. And to love him with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." When Jesus saw that he had answered thoughtfully, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." Then no one dared any longer to question him.

 

This foundational message, echoed in various scriptures, predates Jesus' time—it's encapsulated in the Shema, a cornerstone of the Jewish faith, underscoring the singular devotion owed to God. Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one. And as for you, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Deuteronomy 11:13-21, Numbers 15:37-41.

 

While all sins are grave, loving God supersedes all other commandments, as Christ Himself told us. No amount of religious observance or altruism can offset a lack of love for God, and these verses should profoundly shape our moral compass.

 

Our good deeds do not balance out the bad that we do, and nothing can replace our love for God.

 

Central to Christianity is the principle that love forms the bedrock of our morality. Every sin against God is, fundamentally, a failure to love Him. Sin against others is a sin against God and a failure to love others. Thus, if we view Christianity merely as a set of rules, we miss one of the foundations of our faith. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, it was our failures to love God that put him there, but his love for His Father and then his love for us is why he went to the cross.

 

God’s response to our sins, both individually and corporately, is love. This does not mean that there are no consequences for our disobedience, but it does mean that for as long as possible, God extends his love to us and calls us to him, but the choice remains ours to make.

 

John 3:16 NET - For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

 

Do we truly understand how to express love correctly? Some reduce Christianity to mere obedience to rules and regulations, and yet others say that it is emotions that God wants from us. Neither is strictly true.


Morals that are not backed by love are the bottom rung of morality. Experiencing the radical changes to our hearts, minds, wills, and souls because of our salvation should naturally lead us to want to put God above all else. Without genuine love for God, our works become vain attempts at self-attainment, akin to the pride exhibited in the account of the Tower of Babel.

 

Understanding Biblical and Godly Love


The Bible declares that our love for God is demonstrated through our actions toward others. But how do we navigate this? While I once found this concept confusing, I've come to understand that loving others shouldn't lead us to sin. We express our love for God by loving others without forsaking His truth. This requires us to be steadfast in upholding Christian morality.

 

However, this isn't a mere theoretical exercise. It's a call to embody love authentically in our daily lives through our actions. Love isn't confined to lofty ideas. It is done through our behavior toward those around us. It's one thing to think that we are loving by saying so, but it's something entirely different to put it into action.

 

It's a demanding standard that lays bare our shortcomings and underscores our need for redemption and grace. The biblical depiction of love, as explained in 1 Corinthians 13, is a sobering reminder that genuine love extends beyond momentary feelings. Every word in the chapter that pertains to love is a verb. It requires us to be and do what it says. We will fail; when we do, we need to stop, ask forgiveness, and ask God to help us do better.

 

I find this liberating in many ways. Even if I do not feel love towards someone else. I can be loving in my actions while praying to God to bring my heart and emotions into proper alignment with the teachings of his word.

 

I have found that bringing my emotions back to where the Bible tells us they should be, always starts with my own actions. Serving others is an excellent way to change your heart and your mind. Correcting our hearts and emotions is challenging, and unhardening our hearts toward an individual or group is an exercise in letting go of pride. I have had to correct my thoughts willfully and deliberately towards a person and with my changing thoughts comes a change in my emotions. I find this easier when I remember that this other person is also loved by God. It doesn’t matter if they are a fellow Christian or not. God loves them and wants them to come to him.

 

That is powerful when recalled and put into practice. It helps me to model the love of God to them more sincerely than I could ever be if I tried to fake it.

 

When I was younger, I was told, in error, to fake it till I made it. That’s terrible advice. Your emotions are not always going to align with the examples in the Bible. When they don’t, we have a choice to make. Are we going to acknowledge our own error and stop the coming sin in its tracks, or are we going to let our emotions reign?

 

Biblical love isn't a passive sentiment. It's an active pursuit and a commitment to embody patience, kindness, humility, and selflessness in our interactions. It's a recognition that our emotions, while potent, mustn't dictate our actions; instead, they must yield to God's will. Our commitment to God's truth must supersede envy, pride, and boastfulness. It is also a willingness to forgive others.

 

The essence of Christian morality lies in love—love for God and love for others. It beckons us to transcend superficial adherence to rules and instead embody the transformative power of love in our thoughts, words, and deeds. It's a journey filled with challenges and setbacks, yet it leads us closer to God.

 

Colossians 3:5-17 NET - So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience. You also lived your lives in this way at one time, when you used to live among them. But now, put off all such things as anger, rage, malice, slander, abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with its practices and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of the one who created it. Here there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all. Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others. And to all these virtues add love, which is the perfect bond. Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 

I fully believe that you shouldn't just take my word for what I have posted today but look into the scriptures yourself to gain an understanding of the topics here. I would also suggest reading each of the passages I have added here in full so that you understand them more clearly.

 

 

Verses that speak of Fearing the Lord:

[Psalms 111:10 NET] To obey the LORD is the fundamental principle for wise living; all who carry out his precepts acquire good moral insight. He will receive praise forever.


[Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NET] Having heard everything, I have reached this conclusion: Fear God and keep his commandments, because this is the whole duty of man. For God will evaluate every deed, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.


[Proverbs 9:10 NET]  The beginning of wisdom is to fear the LORD, and acknowledging the Holy One is understanding.


[Proverbs 15:32-33 NET]  The one who refuses correction despises himself, but whoever hears reproof acquires understanding. The fear of the LORD provides wise instruction, and before honor comes humility.


[Romans 1:18-32 NET] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness, because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So, people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen…


[John 3:16-21 NET] For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. Now this is the basis for judging: that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil deeds hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds will not be exposed.  But the one who practices the truth comes to the light, so that it may be plainly evident that his deeds have been done in God.

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About Me

My journey is guided by a deep faith in Christ. I am passionate about using Christian principles to help individuals find healing, hope, and purpose in their lives. Inspired by 2 Timothy 3:16-17, I believe in the transformative power of God's Word and its ability to guide us in teaching, reproof, correction, and righteousness, equipping us for every good work.

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