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What does it mean to fear God?


Thank you so much for your honest spiritual enquiry about the fear of God.

First of all it’s important to understand that to fear God is a very wise thing; even the wisest thing in the world!

As we read in the bible:

  • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 111:10)
  • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10)
  • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge but fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7)

One important aspect of fearing the Lord is obedience to Him and to His Word.

In the Old Testament we find that the ‘Fear of the Lord’ is frequently used in connection with the children of Israel, His chosen people, in keeping His commandments. The Lord tells us "Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!" (Deuteronomy 5:29).

To fear God brought blessing to Israel; to not fear Him resulted in the opposite!

To ‘fear God’ also carries the aspect of complete confidence and trust in God. God told Joshua to "be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Fearing God enables us to live confidently, refusing to be controlled by fear of others and circumstances, and thereby to put all other aspects of our lives into perspective.

When our focus is on being obedient to God, desiring to please Him above all else and having our confidence in Him, wanting His will for our lives, this in turn pleases the heart of God and will also be a great example of true Godliness to those around us.

Another important aspect of fearing God is that of having a healthy reverence and awe for who He is. As new creations in Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit within us, we are privileged to have an intimate relationship with the Father, where we can approach Him boldly, not as those afraid of being punished, but confidently speaking to Him as little children.

However, this has to be set in balance with remembering exactly who the God of the Bible is. He is the Lord Almighty, the maker and ruler and sustainer of the whole universe and as such, is deserving of all our worship, adoration and love.

"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 and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deuteronomy 10:12).

"For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God." (Deuteronomy 4:24)

"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28)

To fear God is to have a balanced view of His personhood.

In summary then, to rightly ‘fear God’ means to live in obedience to Him and His Word; to trust Him above all else and desire His way in our lives; to approach Him with reverence and awe because of who He is.

Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:

  • Deuteronomy 4:24
  • Deuteronomy 10:12
  • Matthew 10:28

I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video

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*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

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