The Fear of the Lord
by Peter Doseck
The fear of the Lord requires obedience. If we truly fear God, we will obey His every word and seek to pursue His every desire. This type of obedience surely requires that we live by faith and not by sight. To live by faith, the old man must be crucified so that only God may be allowed to live and express Himself through our mortal bodies. Not many can honestly say they live this way.
Most people who say they live by faith in reality are not living by faith at all. They are governed by their senses and nearly atheistic in their thinking and actions. This produces Christians who do not believe that God exists in a powerful enough way to do anything real in their lives. The Bible calls this having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.
For Your Good
Deuteronomy 10:12-13 says: “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord, and His statutes, which I command you this day for your good?”
Fearing God, loving Him, and walking in His ways will always end in your good. If you believe you have suffered loss when things are required of you in order to give God the supreme position of honor in your life, it is an expression of pride, faithlessness, and a form of idol worship.
Nothing you have, nothing you do, and nothing you aspire to should ever be regarded as more important than giving God His rightful place in your life. Nothing. If you give anything a place of preeminence above God, you will one day find yourself living as Israel did time and again, faithless and in bondage.
No one in their right mind would sin against God because He has the power to not only destroy the human body, but to cast the soul into an eternal hell. Sin only abounds when people leave their right mind by refusing to, or neglecting to, fear the Lord.
It’s the same with your children. When they do not fear you, or when they do not believe you will carry out the consequences promised for their disobedience, nothing will hold them back from that disobedience.
Why do people steal? Because they have no fear of the law. Why do people murder? Because they do not fear those who promise retribution for their actions. This is why sin abounds in our nation, and it is why sin abounds in the church. People today in the body of Christ do not fear the Lord. Without this fear, there is little restraint.
The Bible tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but week after week Christians choose to stay home for any number of reasons rather than go to church. “I’m too busy.” “I need to work overtime.” “My kids don’t want to go.” “I stayed up too late last night.” Excuse after excuse, rather than the fear of the Lord.
Today, obedience is considered optional. We have Christians who prefer to watch their pastor preach from the comfort of their couch via internet rather than get up, get dressed, and get to the assembly as God commands. Technology is great for the times when you truly can’t make it to church, but it should never be used as a tool to enable you to live in disobedience.
I believe the lukewarm, half-committed state of the church is only the beginning of people losing their fear of the Lord. When more and more lose it, they will become more and more godless, which will infiltrate the church to an even greater degree.
When people fail to honor God, when they relinquish the assembling of themselves together in a local church, when they lay down using their gifts and calling for others, when they give up the faithfulness of a saint, the study of the scriptures, and the es- tablishing of the soundness of doctrine, when they are lax rather than supporting one another, and when they choose to be less active in their church, it is a sign they have lost the fear of God.
The sad thing is, because people lose the fear of the Lord, they sell their children to the god of this world and to the idols of the world system. They remove the fear of God from their homes, and they promote other gods, allowing their children to serve them even as they try to maintain their Christianity in name only. This is unconscionable.
Let me remind you that we are not in this world. We are in the kingdom of God, and the world needs to see a church that fears the Lord!
Learning to Fear the Lord
We need to return to a reverential fear of the Lord that causes us to prostrate ourselves before Him, becoming powerless and utterly dependent upon His hand and His alone. We need a revival of fear in the pews before there will be a revival in the land.
The fear of the Lord is something we can learn. It is not a gift that comes to us, but it is a substance that is to be sought after. To fear the Lord we must seek, and we will find. We must knock, and it will be opened.
When you learn to fear the Lord, you will migrate toward walking in His ways; not selectively, but in totality. It will not matter to you what will happen as a result. You will simply walk in the ways of the Lord, fearing to do anything else.
The Basis of Faith
The fear of the Lord is the basis of all faith. In other words, if you do not fear God, you do not have faith. You may think you do, and you may say you do, but your actions reveal that faith has no place in your life.
Faith and obedience are brothers. If you do not fear God, you will not obey. And if you do not obey, you will not live by faith.
Hebrew 11:4-34 gives us a great accounting of the men and women of faith in the Bible who did great and mighty things with their faith. But then we hit verse 35, and we begin to read of those whose faith was just as great, and yet they had a different outcome.
The Bible says some were tortured rather than accepting deliverance. We don’t like this one. It also says some were mocked, whipped, bound, and imprisoned. We don’t like this one either. Some were stoned, cut in pieces, and impaled with the sword. We really don’t like this one.
What do we learn here? The fear of the Lord is the basis of all faith, and faith is nothing more than obedience in motion. Those whose outcome seemed like defeat are listed in the hall of faith along with those whose mighty acts are well-known. They are honored not because of the outcome, but because of the obedience and the fear of the Lord that empowered them to stand strong against all opposition.
This is the kind of faith we should teach our children; the kind of faith that causes us to be strong against all temptation, during all tragedy, and in spite of attacks, troubles, and trials of every kind. No matter what we face, the fear of the Lord must propel us to stand strong without wavering. What a testimony! What a faith!
[Pastor Peter Doseck serves is Founder and Senior Pastor of Only Believe Ministries Christian Center in Botkins, OH, a church that he began in a dirt floor garage with only one member and has grown to a 3000 seat auditorium. The church exceeds the population of the town in which it is located! Pastor Doseck is also a noted Author, whose books have impacted countless lives worldwide. Truly he is a man of great character, unusual courage, and miraculous faith.]