To Fear or Not to Fear…The Fear of the Lord (Part 2)

By Patrick Hawthorne

Long_Distance_Running

In   To Fear or Not to Fear…The Fear of the Lord (Part 1)  , I discussed that the fear of the Lord is not to be fearful or afraid of the Lord but to walk in such a reverence for our Heavenly Father, for the Being and love of His character, that we exercise our faith in total and uncompromising obedience.  It is to have such a love and respect for Him that we would be willing to give our lives for His service.

There are several sides to fearing the Lord.  Many Christians, when asked about fearing the Lord, tend to gravitate to the side of authority; to the side of His demand for perfect justice.  Now, that is not a bad thing at all.  However, if our focus is only on the justice and judgment side of “Almighty God,” we will miss the relational side of “Heavenly Father.”  Both sides deal equally with fearing the Lord.

James 4:8 tells us to draw near to God and He will draw near to us.  Do you know that you can dictate just how much of a relationship you have with the Father?  If this were not so, why would James tell us, in just a few verses before, that the Holy Spirit yearns for us with a jealousy so intense that it equates with a lust.  Why would the Word say that the sum of God’s thoughts for us is more than the sand of this earth?

Think about it…If you were to say, “I have a reverential fear of the Lord,” but you only thought about Him every now or then, how much effort do you think He would put into the relationship?  Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.  It is your decision.

Another side of fearing the Lord is to not treat as common that which the Lord has sanctified.  Remember when Peter saw the vision of the sheet with the animals come down from heaven (Acts 10:9-16)?  The Lord told him to eat.  Peter’s response was, “No, Lord.  I will not eat anything unclean or common.  The Lord told him, “What God has cleansed, that call not thou common.”

Too often, we Christian’s want to approach our Heavenly Father in the same fashion we would approach a fast food drive through.  We treat coming into His presence as a common thing or an “Oh, it’s you again,” type thing.  Try that with your mate and see how that works out for you.  I’m betting you would be sleeping in the dog house.  No, we should cherish the opportunity to approach our Heavenly Father.

Awhile back I heard a minister say that when he goes before the Lord during his prayer time, he makes it a practice to pause for a couple of seconds before praying and to meditate on the goodness of God.  He had learned to not treat as common his prayer time but to relish in the joy of coming before His Heavenly Father.  The minister said that when he started doing this he noticed an almost immediate feeling of the presence of the Lord.

My thought was, “Well, if it works for him, I will give it a try.”  Sure enough, not only did I begin to feel an almost immediate presence of the Lord, but my prayer time became less feeling like a one-sided conversation and more of a chat time with my Lord and friend.   It’s wonderful!  I have learned the, “Hallowed be Thy name,” part of the Lord’s Prayer.

As I wrote in part one of this two part series, I don’t have the Fear of the Lord perfected.  I’m far from it.  However, I am in the race.  How about you?  Are you ready to put on your running shoes and join me in this race?  Be blessed.

 

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18 comments on “To Fear or Not to Fear…The Fear of the Lord (Part 2)
  1. Elihu says:

    I really like your example of practicing the pause prior to prayer. I’ve been trying something similar in my quiet prayer time. I picture in my mind that I am standing before God’s throne and He is bending down to listen. I address him as both king and father. Often, I keep the ACTS acronym in my head so I don’t rush into my needs, but remember first to praise him, then confess my sins, and thank him for his kindness. It keeps my supplications in perspective and gets my heart focused. Great post, Patrick!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amen, Patrick!

    Reverence for what is Holy is a part of it for sure! I like to think of sports, the excitement, the cheers, or perhaps a date, were we get all dressed up and spend hours fussing. Then in contrast, we often go to church casually, as if we have to, or into prayer as if it were a chore or a duty. If we can prioritize Him instead, give Him our first fruits, the best we have, then the relationship will grow. He is royalty, so we’re invited into a relationship with a VIP, and that means you bring out the good china, you offer your best.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. anitvan says:

    I don’t know if you were planning on touching on this, but the Bible itself defines the fear of the Lord as “the beginning of wisdom”. I’ll be honest, I haven’t really meditated a lot on what that means – the *beginning* of wisdom – but it almost sounds as if fear of God is our “starting place”, if you will. Perhaps our fear of the Lord starts as apprehension for who He is (and what he can do to us!) but it certainly doesn’t end there. Jesus Himself tells us that “perfect love casts out all fear”. I don’t think he’s talking about *our* love, as if somehow, if we were able to love perfectly, we could then live without any fear. I think He means that HE is perfect love, and His perfect love for God and for us is what casts out our fear of condemnation. What is left then, is, as you say, a reverence and awe for His undeserved goodness and mercy towards us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes’m, …Proverbs 9:10 says, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The Amplified Version might help because it pretty much states what you wrote…

      The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of wisdom [its starting point and its essence],
      And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding and spiritual insight.

      I totally agree with you on the perfect love. As Oswald Chambers wrote and I put in part 1, “The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.”

      When your focus is on the Pure Love, all worldly fear begins to be shoved aside…

      Liked by 1 person

      • anitvan says:

        Yeah that’s such a great quote and an accurate description of what it looks like to grow in fear and love of the Lord. Really, what is there to fear from this world? The older I get, the less I seem to fear the cares of this world – I mean, suffering sucks, don’t get me wrong! 😉 but we also have this promise that He will bring us *through* the fires, even unto death. Knowing your eternal destiny is secure kinda changes your whole perspective!

        Liked by 2 people

  4. We live in Georgia. We have my mom’s crystal collection safely stored away with her silver. We use it on rare occasions if we entertain special guests. For the other 364 days of the year we eat on paper plates, use plastic silverware and drink out of paper cups or plastic glass ware. I wear jeans and tie-dye shirts and clogs to church. But I want to try what that pastor told you about pausing before I pray to meditate on the goodness of God. I’d like that to work for me as it does for you, Patrick. Thanks for sharing.
    P.S. I’m still going to wear jeans to church.

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  5. In my life, my fear of the Lord has changed as I’ve grown in Him. A thought that ran through my mind as I read your post in contrast to some conversations I’ve had lately, is that human beings allow those who cause them to be the most afraid to control them. The “Controllers” of this world know that very well. I think of those whom I feared before I came to Jesus and those fears were wiped away in the moment I began to fear the final consequence of my sin and asked Jesus to save me. Many fears drove me to commit many sins but my fear of the LORD was a healthy fear that caused me to make the choice that set me free from those others fears. There is a great comfort in “fearing the Lord” cause my Daddy is much bigger than the world’s daddy.;0)

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    • Hello my friend. You summed up very nicely what these post were all about. When we have Jesus in our heart and our focus is on Him, much of the worldly stuff that used to control us is now nothing more than the nuisance of a nagging mosquito.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Mel Wild says:

    Amen, Patrick. I really liked what you said here…
    “However, if our focus is only on the justice and judgment side of “Almighty God,” we will miss the relational side of “Heavenly Father.”  Both sides deal equally with fearing the Lord.”

    Coming to God because of fear of punishment is not a relationship, it’s being a prisoner! But it’s knowing God in relationship that brings true reverential awe. The more I know Him, the more in awe I am of Him.

    Good word, bro!

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  7. Jules says:

    It’s quite a balancing act because as mortals we tend to go to one side or the other. On one side we have – Oh it’s just my dad, let’s pull up a chair and chinwag. On the other side we have – oh God beyond my reach I will wear my best clothes, use my most precise formal language, bow at a distance because I am unworthy.

    Having only one side denies the whole truth of God.

    Yes, He is absolutely my Abba and I have intimate fellowship with Him. But yes, He is the transcendent, eternal, immortal and omnipotent God and I must worship in fear and trembling.

    One does not exclude the other but in some mysterious and amazing way, both are in balance when I walk closely with Him.

    Amazing God, amazing Saviour, amazing love.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. […] Original post @  https://servinggrace.com/2017/07/07/to-fear-or-not-to-fearthe-fear-of-the-lord-part-2/ […]

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