We read in scripture that we must fear God.
We hear Pastors talk about the “fear of God”. Sometimes in angry ways that are designed to scare you.
We hear those who oppose Christianity use the “fear of God” as an argument against the faith.
But what does it truly mean to “fear God”?
I am not a theologian by any means but from Bible studies and listening to different sermons and teachings I think I understand what it means to “fear God”.
But first I want to talk about the word “fear”. People have changed the meaning of the word fear to make it out to be something only in an abusive, unhealthy way.
There is a healthy fear and an unhealthy fear.
We fear all kinds of people. We fear people like police officers, our bosses and when we were kids our parents.
We don’t use the word “fear” anymore to describe it; we just talk about the consequences not the emotion.
When we don’t speed in front of a police officer we don’t say it is because we fear the officer, we say so we don’t get a ticket. (You shouldn’t speed anyway).
We obey the rules at work and tell people we do so that way our boss doesn’t reprimand or fire us.
If someone asked why we did our chores, listened to the rules and obeyed our parents as kids it was so we wouldn’t get in trouble.
You might focus on the consequences not the emotion but in reality think about it.
When you get pulled over, or called into your bosses office or told to sit on the couch by your parents when you know you did the wrong thing, what did you feel? (or what should you have felt?)
It’s a healthy fear.
Think about it some more, do you think it’s healthy for a person to have no fear of police or the law? That produces criminal activity. What kind of awful environment work would be if no one feared their boss and did whatever they wanted. I don’t need to even mention how terrible a child behaves that has no discipline or fear of the consequences of their actions.
We need healthy fear.
Because at the end of the day a truly good, fair and just police officer is someone who will make you feel safe despite you knowing if you break the law they would have to take you to jail.
A good boss who you respect can make all the difference in a work environment, people grow to love and respect their bosses even though they know that boss may have to discipline them or even fire them.
And how much does a good child love their parents even after all the discipline the parent had to put them through?
Let’s look at the other side of this.
If a police officer uses his power to abuse someone and pervert justice you would be afraid of that officer because he instills a different kind of fear.
If you have to walk around on eggshells at work knowing your boss may lose it or fire you at any moment, that is a different kind of fear.
If you had to do your chores and follow the rules when you were a kid because a parent or parents would beat you or scream at you that is a different kind of fear.
That’s not just fear that’s an unhealthy, abusive fear.
That is not how to “fear God”.
We are called to fear God in a healthy manner.
I know what God is capable of, it makes me fear Him but it also makes me love Him.
Because no one is more loving, good, fair and just then God, this makes me feel safe.
I love God and I fear God, and my fear of God draws me closer to God, the closer I draw to God makes me love Him all the more.
Have a Blessed Week,
I enjoyed reading your thoughts and insights on this vital subject, Chris! I also have come to understand that the fear of God includes being in absolute awe of Him, to be overwhelmingly amazed by who He is and what He is doing and able to do.
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