It seems like the fear of the Lord has gone out of style in the modern church. I have heard some say that the fear of God is an Old Testament concept and has no relevance to today’s New Testament believers.
Really? Is this what the Bible teaches?
I guess Jesus missed that memo: “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).
Or how about Peter’s simple command: “Fear God” (1 Peter 2:17).
The writer of Hebrews put it this way: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29).
It is clear that the fear of God is not merely an Old Testament mindset that we can now dismiss. No, the fear of the Lord—the reverential awe of God—is for us today. And it is lacking in many of our lives and churches.
Here are three signs that we are missing the fear of the Lord in the church:
The way that we talk about God, to God, or for God is a good indicator of the level to which we reverence Him. Do you speak to God like He is another one of “the boys?” Do you talk about Him like He’s your buddy? Do you speak for Him flippantly, saying “Thus saith the Lord” when He has not really spoken?
Let’s get something straight: God is not your buddy. Yes, we are to pursue friendship with God, but even this is connected to the fear of the Lord: “The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant” (Psalm 25:14, emphasis added). This means that God reveals things—is intimate with—those who honor, respect, and fear Him.
We need to regain an awe of God; a sense of His holiness and majesty, and an honor for His name.
Those who fear the Lord have respect for His Word. In the Apostle Paul’s preaching, he cared more about what God thought than pleasing man (see Galatians 1:10).
There is a lot of preaching today that is man-centered, watered down, and compromised. We know what people want to hear, and we preach to tickle their ears. We are afraid that if we preach certain truths, talk about sin, or preach longer than 20 minutes, people will not want to come back.
In other words, we lack the fear of the Lord. We honor others more than Him. We must get back to preaching the uncompromised Word of God.
Many in the church today have a careless attitude about sin. It is not uncommon for professing Christians to live/sleep together before marriage. The divorce rate among Christians is just as high as among the world. Church leaders are falling into financial and sexual sin left and right.
Meanwhile, the Bible says that “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13) and that it turns “one away from the snares of death” (Proverbs 14:27). One result of the fear of God is that it keeps you from sinning. It brings a greater awareness of His presence in your life, and a readiness to obey His Word. We need to recover this today.
I understand that the fear of God is not the only aspect of God that we need to grasp. In fact, if it is not balanced by a revelation of His love we will be in error on the opposite side: a view of God that makes us afraid of Him. There is a difference between a healthy fear of the Lord and a wrong view of God that keeps us from approaching Him.
But it seems to me that we are in more danger of losing the fear of God. We need a fresh revelation of who God is, and a healthy dose of the fear of the Lord!
I totally agree with you… Where is the fear of God in our lives?? Where is the respect and reverence our Lord deserves!! Let us pray for conviction, and a healthy fear….
Yes, I think we all need a fresh sense of God’s majesty and glory…a healthy fear of the Lord!
It seems to me people only press in when they need prayer on sunday!!! I am on the prayer team and people are not spending time in there prayer closet. We are in the world but we are not of the world,to me i spend time everyday with my father god its the air i breath!!!!! We serve a jealous god he wants to be first in everything in our life. I pray that people will turn back to god before its to late. (“If my people who are called by my name will humble themslves and pray and turn from there wicked ways, i will heal there land”)
Amen, those are some good thoughts Holly!
very true!! i have had problems with young people even my own relatives whenever i’ve tried to explain to them this issue of fear of the LORD.to them God is a playmate…the answers i get are like “there is sufficient grace”,”God understands my situation”,”but we love each other and we are not sleeping outside our relationship”.to them God only blesses but He never punishes sin. Time is running out and the LORD is coming but people seem to be comfortable in sin…but this is just an open manifestation of the kind of pastors in those churches.
here in kenya many misbehaving “christians” have been traced back to their randy,drunkard,corrupt or conniving pastors. the government is running amok as they pay very little attention to the criticisms of pastors. only the Lord can help us.
Good thoughts Victor. We truly need a restoration of the fear of the Lord!
So very true! I think of our relationship with God as an eagle flies with 2 wings…Fear and Love. If I lean to heavily on either wing, I will start to descend to earth but, if both wings are held evenly together, then I will continue to soar in the Spirit above the mountains :)…of course I haven’t found that perfect balance but I know that God is more than able!
Great article. Reminds me of a recent one I just wrote: http://www.christiangrowthnetwork.com/megawakeupcall.html
Thanks for sharing Pierre, I enjoyed your article as well!
God Help us all as we never what tricks the enemy has and may the Holy Spirit burn true conviction as He is an expert in doing