A while ago, I was on Facebook and saw an argument on a comment thread which really sparked my interest. Now, let me be clear when I say that I think Facebook arguments in general are ridiculous. When you’re angry about something and choose to express that anger through Facebook, especially if aimed at an individual or specific group, it’s almost guaranteed to make everyone leave feeling more upset. However, the topic they were arguing about was a thought-provoking one. They were arguing about whether or not you should “Fear God.” One arguer was saying that you should obey God out of a fear of Him, while the other one was saying that if you use the term ‘fear God’ you are automatically wrong because one should obey because they love God and want to please Him.
I think there is truth to both sides. Let me start by saying, yes, biblical texts instruct us to “Fear God.” You can read that in a plethora of Bible verses, including Psalm 31:19 which talks about the goodness that God has stored up for those who fear Him, Psalm 112:1 and Psalm 115:13 which says that those who fear the Lord will be blessed, and many verses in Proverbs which talk about a fear of the Lord leading to life. Fearing God is a biblical command, and everything we do should be out of a fear of Him.
It’s important to realize, however, that GODLY fear and WORLDLY fear are NOT the same thing. Does “fearing God” mean worrying about being struck down every time you sin, having sweaty palms and a racing heart every time you go to Him in prayer, and trembling every time you open His Word? No. God loves us so much and we never have to fear losing our salvation or losing His acceptance. If you’re a believer, “fearing God” means having the deepest respect for Him – a kind of reverence that is incomparable to anything else. As Gotquestions.org states, it is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7), it means understanding how much God hates sin and understanding His judgment on and discipline of sin, so that we can seek to please Him in our actions. And why do we obey and revere Him? Because we love Him and want to please Him. Because He first loved us.
Both arguments had truth to them. The greatness of God is so beyond our comprehension, so everything we do should be out of a deep respect, reverence, and love for Him… and that, my friends, is known as godly fear.
Erin Culleny serves as a Marketing Assistant and Staff Writer. She loves encouraging women through her Victory Calls and finds such joy in praying for her sisters in Christ. Her favorite activities include reading her Bible, encouraging others with scripture, buying new dresses, and eating at the Cheesecake Factory… In that order!