Fear can be negative or positive, and depending on how we relate to fear will determine how it will affect our lives. Some fears are negative and have unhealthy outcomes. There is one fear, however, that holds the key to successful living.
Fear of the Lord
In the book of Isaiah we read:
“The fear of the LORD is His treasure.”Isaiah 33:6
This is something good that God wants His people to have. Let us look at what Scripture has to say about the fear of the Lord.
“The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever …”
Also, Proverbs 23:17 says:
“… be in the fear of the LORD all the day long …”
So we see that there is no time in our lives when we should not be in the fear of the Lord.
In his second letter to Timothy Paul writes:
“For God has not given us the spirit of fear …”2 Timothy 1:7
Furthermore, in his first letter to John he states:
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment. He who fears has not been perfected in love.”1 John 1:18
Remedy for Torment
Tormenting fear is from Satan. It has no place in the life of a believer.
The best remedy for the tormenting fear is the fear of the Lord. One word that best describes the fear of the Lord is awe. From this we get the word ‘awesome’, which is a reaction to majesty, power and holiness.
Unfortunately, ‘awesome’ has lost its true definition in the modern world. Therefore the word reverence might be a better way of explaining what the fear of the Lord means. Reverence is a response to a revelation of God.
A good example of this is found in Isaiah, Chapter 6 verse 5, where we read of Isaiah’s response to the revelation of God that he had just received, and of which he says:
“Woe is me for I am undone!”
When God reveals Himself to us, the only response is reverence and submissiveness.
Scripture also tells us that what we fear can become our god. In Genesis, Jacob says to his father-in-law:
“Unless the God of my fathers, the God of Abraham, and the Fear of Isaac had been with me, surely you would have sent me away now empty.”Genesis 31:42
Here, Jacob referred to God as “The fear of Isaac.” In other words, what Isaac feared was the true God.
Likewise, what you fear can become your god.
If you fear people or poverty, sickness or disease, any or all of those things can become your god. In other words, it is what you give your attention to, and what can eventually take over your life.
The Seventh Anointing
It is helpful to look at the fear of the Lord in the life of Jesus.
Isaiah, when speaking about the coming Messiah (the Anointed One) described seven distinct aspects of the Holy Spirit, spoken about by John in Revelation 1:4 and which would rest upon Jesus.
The first on Isaiah’s list is The Spirit of the Lord, which is the Spirit that speaks in the first person as God. Next comes the Spirit of wisdom. We then have the Spirit of understanding, the Spirit of counsel, those of might, knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
We also see in Isaiah:
“His delight is in the fear of the Lord.”Isaiah 11:3
Jesus was marked out as the Messiah by the sevenfold anointing of the Holy Spirit and the seventh anointing was the fear of the Lord.
The Right Choice
The fear of the Lord isn’t something that we receive but something that we must learn. We have to be taught it and we are taught by the Holy Spirit – but only if we listen to Him.
In Proverbs we learn:
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”Proverbs 1:7
“Be not wise in your own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.”Proverbs 3:7
We are not to trust in our own wisdom, for when we are full of self-confidence and believe we have all the answers then there is no room in our lives for the fear of the Lord.
Note that in Proverbs 3:7 we’re told we must depart from evil, for we cannot associate with evil and have the fear of the Lord. Each one of us has to make a choice.
Which one do you want – the fear of the Lord or things that are evil?