The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10
Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere Him. Psalm 33:8
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18
What comes to mind when you read verses in the Bible about fearing the Lord? Do you think of punishment, banishment, or judgment? If our God is a God of love, then none of these thoughts would fit His character. So, what does the fear of the Lord truly mean?
As a child, I remember learning about famous Bible stories in Sunday school. Noah’s Ark, for example, or the parting of the Red Sea. I can still see the simplistic drawing of Moses holding his staff as I colored in the page. But, honestly, that’s all God was to me: a story.
If God were only a story, He held no real authority over my life, therefore I had nothing to fear. It wasn’t until later in life when I had a real encounter with God that I truly believed God was who He said He was. At first it was a bit overwhelming. There I was in the presence of the all-mighty, all-knowing, and all-powerful King.
He knew me and all the things I’d done (and would do), both the good and the bad. What would God think of me? What if He couldn’t forgive me for my choices, actions, and decisions?
Fear can arise from our awareness that God is God; He is real and has real authority over our lives. But God doesn’t want us to cower away from Him because of anything we’ve done. We often worry about our past or present situation, that what we’ve said or done is too much for God’s grace and forgiveness. We buy into the lie that tells us we’re not worthy of God’s love.
That kind of fear cannot win our hearts; it requires a much stronger emotion: LOVE.
God knows everything about us: our shortcomings, doubts, failures, and loves us still. While we should never forget the authority God has over our lives, we should always remember that His perfect love drives out fear.
Where there is no fear, there is freedom. Freedom to experience the grace God gives through His son Jesus. Because He is good. Because He is love.
What fears have kept you from moving forward in your faith? Why do they hold you captive?
What would it look like to cast out fear and embrace God’s love?
Heavenly Father, thank you for Your goodness. May we remain in awe of who You are and the authority You hold, but may we also delight in the freedom we have in Christ. Help us to remember the cross in times of confusion, when fear attempts to lead us astray. May Your great love always prevail reminding us that we are Your children, worthy and precious in Your sight. In Jesus name, Amen.
PC3 writer Mandy Hughes wrote today’s devotional.