The Bible teaches us to fear God. Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes summed up all and concluded everything that have been written into one simple, yet very important verse:
…of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecc. 12: 12,13)
A simple and clearly-worded nugget of wisdom which can change the course of our lives. Indeed, the pursuit of a righteous life all starts in having a fear of God. The absence of it is a life that leans on sinfulness, a life that opposes everything that God has commanded.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom… (Prov. 9:10)
We begin to have a grasp of pure wisdom and to know God when we learn to fear Him. It is fear of Him that we begin to seek His truth, His righteousness, to find the way to Him. It is fear of Him that we want to seek and obtain His salvation. This fear of Him is what will drive us to pursue Him, know Him, believe in Him and in His Word.
Our fear of God is the beginning of our faith. That we fear Him whom we do not see means we believe in the existence of the Almighty God in whose hands our lives depend.
Ultimately, the faith that sprang up from our fear of this powerful God drives us to humbly surrender our lives to Him, repent, and accept His offer of salvation through Jesus Christ. And then, we begin the journey of a changed life intimately guided by His Spirit.
It is good that the fear of God is completed in us, compelling us to obey all His commandments. But a Christian that has been born of the Spirit progresses to the higher ground, a place where love dwells. She bears the fruit of the Holy Spirit, topmost of which is love. A born-again Christian then walks in love, and whatever she does, she does it for the love of the Lord. This is the higher ground – the place where true freedom and joy are experienced.
We can easily see the difference between doing things for God in fear of Him, or in our fervent love for Him. Do we go to church because we fear the consequences if we don’t, or do we go because we hunger for His holy presence? Do we strive to praise Him for hours because we know it is what He desires and if we don’t, we fear that He might be displeased of us, or do we praise Him for hours because our hearts are burning of our love for Him and our souls can’t get enough of Him, drinking of His holy fountain?
Do we suppress our resentments to other people, doing our very best to forgive those who have hurt us – although our hearts say otherwise, thinking ill thoughts of them – because we fear the Lord’s anger might be kindled against us? Or, do we love Him enough to show our gratitude to Him by loving even our enemies as He has commanded?
Love liberates! Because of our fervent love for the Lord, we can easily obey His commands (John 14:15), even the hard ones, like loving your enemies, praying for them, and blessing them. It is love that compels us to honor and obey the Lord’s commands, and resentment is absent in doing so. There is only love!
…God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in Him. (1 John 4: 16)
When we have been perfected in love, there is no more fear, for perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4: 18).
Related post: First Love