THE FEAR OF GOD
What does it mean to fear God?
The fear of God implies that I know that He is present everywhere and that He is both my Rewarder and my Discipliner.
People often say to fear God means to have reverence for Him; to stand in awe of Him in worship. Well, that it part of the fear of God but not the whole of it. The word fear means ‘to be afraid of.’ We must have the fear of God in that we are afraid to offend him.
‘But God is a loving Father, and we should not be afraid of our father!’ This is what a lot of people say. However, bear in mind that being a loving father is not mutually exclusive to being a God that is to be feared. God has many aspects to his person; to speak as if the Loving-Father side is the only side to him is to live in deception. God indeed is at the same time a loving Father and a fearful Judge of the whole earth.
I have children, and my children know I love them. They are free to come into my presence and my room anytime. We play, we talk, and they are free to ask me for anything. But they also know and understand from experience that there is a side of Daddy that is to be watched with care. You are not allowed to flout his instructions and not expect a just recompense of reward. Once, my little daughter did something wrong and my wife said, ‘come, let us go and see your Daddy;’ the girl just started crying. She knew that the love of Daddy does not at all rule out his discipline side. That is the way God is. He loves us so much He gave Jesus up for us, yet the Bible says,
“”And have you entirely forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you, his children? He said,
"My child, don't ignore it when the Lord disciplines you,
and don't be discouraged when he corrects you.
For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes those he accepts as his children."
7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined? 8 If God doesn't discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children after all. 9 Since we respect our earthly fathers who disciplined us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to the discipline of our heavenly Father and live forever””
Heb 12:5-9 NLT
So we see that God does discipline His children, and we for that reason must fear God.
The practical side of the fear of God is that we must be careful to do all that is pleasing in His sight at all times. We must understand that He sees us all the time, (even our thoughts are loud to Him), and He will inflict his discipline upon us if we do not repent. We must know that even if our pastors and friend are not there to see us, He is there.
One major problem in today’s Christianity is that people do not often fear God. The reason many people obey the word of God is because they believe it will bring them results. They give because it is their own way to receive, and they praise God because it is a way to ignite Him to do something for them. Behaving this way is not in keeping with the fear of God. In the fear of God, we do not do things because of what we stand to benefit; rather we do them because they are the right things to do.
Obeying God is the right thing to do, whether I get anything from it or not. That is what is called godliness with contentment (1 Tim 6:6). Even if I lose physically, or God gives me no breakthrough for all the giving I have done, I will still continue to do those things because they are the things commanded by God that I should do. It is simply the fear of God.
To fear God means I do not want to offend Him; I want to live every part of my life aiming to please Him in every little thing. I just want to be pleasing in His sight.