Fear—it’s an emotion scripture tells me to avoid. I’m instructed “fear not” over and over again when faced with what people will think, storms, challenges, life, death, new situations, and more. But when it comes to my attitude towards God, I’m given a different instruction—a commandment to “fear God.”
So what does this mean? It seems like a contradiction, especially in light of 2 Timothy 1:7 where it says that God has not given me a spirit of fear. So why would He then tell me to fear Him?
A few years ago, I decided to do my own search on the fear of the Lord and was surprised by what I found. Unlike other fear that paralyzes, steals, destroys, and robs strength, there are beautiful benefits that come with fearing God such as wisdom (Psalm 111:10), knowledge (Proverbs 1:7), prolonged life (Proverbs 10:27), strong confidence and refuge (Proverbs 14:26), and a fountain of life (Proverbs 14:2).
Searching through scripture, I started to get it. Fearing God is not being afraid He is out to get me or waits to punish when I fail. Instead, it’s respecting and submitting to what He says is right and true above everything else.
It’s believing that God’s standard or commandments are set for my ultimate good and anything that strays from it will be destructive to me. It’s trusting that when I follow His way, the benefits mentioned above will begin to be evident in my life.
Psalm 19:7-10 gives additional benefits that come in fearing God. For example, restoration of the soul, making the simple wise, rejoicing the heart, enlightening the eyes, and enjoying a satisfying sweetness in life.
Fear vs. Fear
Healthy fear versus destructive fear can be compared to speeding in a car and breaking the state mandated limit. Like most drivers, I don’t keep the limit because I believe the law has set the standards to protect lives and is the wise thing to do.
No. Rather, I think the majority of drivers, like me, keep speed limits because we fear penalty and judgment. We are apprehensive of what law enforcement will do if we break the rules. Because of speed traps set to raise revenue, many drivers believe officers are out to “get us” for speeding with the purpose of imposing fees to fund their departments.
This illustrates a fearful type of fear, not the trusting kind that believes the one making the rules has our ultimate best in mind.
Both types of fear come down to control issues. The “do not be afraid” type of fear comes when I feel out-of-control in a situation. The “fear of the Lord” kind comes when I hand over my control to a perfect God, trusting His ability to know what is best in life over my own abilities.
The answer I’ve found in scripture in dealing with both types of fear is to trust God. And Ecclesiastes 12:13 seems to sum it up well by saying, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.”
Fearing God is actively handing over my control to Him, which in reality I don’t ever have in the first place and saying, “You know best God, so I choose Your way.”
As scripture affirms, fearing God brings beautiful results to my life. It also gives God the awe and reverence He deserves as the One who has perfect knowledge and wisdom in every area of life.
Welcome to Ungrind!
Do you want to be inspired, motivated, and equipped to live the everyday story of your life well?
If so, you’re in the right place. Whether you need encouragement in your relationships or in your faith, I hope you’ll find the transparent voices of mentors and friends here at Ungrind.
So, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. We're so glad you're here!
Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
Get Our Free Ebook!
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions
The Psalms is a book that's rich with the reality of what life's like in this fallen world. Here are...
3 Ways to Navigate Personality Differences
Sometimes personality differences can wear on us. Here are three ways we can navigate them in a loving manner.
Surprised By ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’
If you haven't seen this film, God may speak to your heart through it in ways you weren't expecting.
The Wedding Ring
Are you struggling in your marriage? Here's how a wedding ring helped one wife fight for her marriage.
5 Ways to Live an Out-of-Control Life
Here are 5 ways to let go of control and trust your present and your future to God.
5 Creative Places to Find Prayer Accountability
Do you want to pray more, but are easily distracted? Here are some practical ways to stay focused.
How to Rescue a Day Gone Wrong in Your Marriage
Just because a day doesn't start well, doesn't mean you can't rescue it.
What Women Are Saying
--Rachel Starr Thomson, author of Heart to Heart: Meeting With God in the Lord's Prayer
"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"
-- Gary Chapman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages
We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.
Faith4 years ago
When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds
Motherhood4 years ago
Surviving a Strong-Willed Child
Faith5 years ago
7 Ways to Create A Family Altar
Friendship6 years ago
Beyond the Registry: The Ultimate Gift Guide for Expectant Parents
Relationships4 months ago
5 Ways to Teach Your Child to Hear God
Marriage6 years ago
4 Reasons I’m Not Facebook Friends With My Husband
Everyday Faith5 years ago
6 Simple Ways to Give Thanks in the Thick of It
Articles5 years ago
10 Ways Life is Like a Box of Chocolates
Articles7 years ago
How to Lift Up the One You Love
Articles5 years ago
Relationships9 months ago
Facing Our Motherhood Fears
Digging Into Scripture1 month ago
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions