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Pondering the Fear of the Lord

January 17, 2010

Yesterday I was looking at the Scriptural term “fear of the Lord”. This is one of those Biblical concepts that I was not taught growing up. It was in the Bible, but my church and my family didn’t talk about, and it is something I have not spent a lot of time as an adult really thinking about. I have always realized though that “fear” was not referring to an tie to danger, pain, or being scared. Instead I have through of it more as a term of reverence, awe, and great respect.

Not long ago someone told me they didn’t think I lived with the fear of the Lord in my life. That was a shocking statement to me because of the importance I place on Scripture. My view of Scripture comes from Scripture itself. I believe it is truth. I believe it is breathed and created by God. I believe it is the history of God’s people which holds lessons for our lives today. I believe it is the way God has recorded his love and wisdom for us to learn so that we will not continue being the unfaithful people our ancestors have been in the past. I treat the Scriptures as holy, without fault, and as that which my life is based on.

I was talking with someone else about my view of Scripture recently and told them that I can not think of a Biblical truth that I have come to understand which I do not try to live out constantly in my life. First, there are truths I do not know and comprehend yet. We are all on a path where we are growing and learning. Second, I try to live them out but there are Biblical truths that I fail at daily. I may not fail at keeping the marriage bed pure and not having sex before marriage, but I do allow other things to take the place of God in my life and be idols, I do worry, and I do fail to rejoice always. Those are things I am working on. Areas where I am in deep need of the Lord’s counsel, hope, and guidance in my life. As I shared this with the person I was speaking to he looked at me with sadness and said he wished he could say the same thing about his life. Although he is living well today there have been times in his life when he has not.

What I think it means to fear the Lord is that we hold him and his word in such esteem and reverence that we seek to live by it constantly. That is applies to all areas of our life, and it leads us as we make decisions, communicate, and set priorities. We have such a commitment to the Lord that we take his word as sacred and holy in our lives, and we not only submit to his direction, but seek his counsel as a trusted friend, leader, guide, and mentor.

I read a blog post today that stated when the author hears someone speak with such zeal about the Lord he is not sure whether to believe and trust the person’s walk with God. Are they authentic, or are they just trying to show off and convince you that they have a walk? For the last several months I have been pondering on if a person isn’t speaking of the Lord, then are they truly walking with him and living a life dedicated to him because don’t we talk about those things that we love the most and are most committed to? I think both answers are correct, and some of it depends on the person involved and how extraverted they are. Scripture tells us that we will know other believers by their love, by the fruit of their life, and by the outpouring of the deeds we see come from their lives. If we live with a fear of the Lord, and if we know Scripture and study it to learn to have a character and nature that is like Christ deep in our heart then I think we will speak of the Lord in the right times and circumstances, and we will speak of him with excitement and hope and promise.  We will not stay silent and be ashamed, but not everyone will shout his name from mountain tops. Some of us will just seek to live like him as we go to our jobs, cook our meals, love on our spouses/kids/friends/parents, spend money responsibly, give to others who are in need, and try to live with and speak to others in ways that share God’s love and the truth of the Gospel.

Fear of the Lord to me isn’t just a belief, it is a way of life. The person who told me he wasn’t sure I had a fear of the Lord helped me to see that there were some areas where I needed to grow in my faith and deal with some areas of sin, but I do have a fear of the Lord. I have a reverence and commitment to him that surpasses everything else in my life. I’m just daily asking now how that can grow and become visible even more.

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