The Lost Art of Fearing God

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Our generation is losing the art of fearing God.

It’s out of fashion. The idea of fearing God does not have that “feel-good” draw, and since it’s hard to understand, we choose to put it out of our minds. We make our own happiness king, because God wants us to be happy, right?

We miss the eternal truth. We idolize ourselves and grow fat on the doctrine of grace.

The effects of this shift are wriggling their way into the cracks of our society. We’re already seeing the crumble.

I wonder, have we given up on reading the whole Bible? On reading it honestly?

Because the truth is, God’s love and grace should not be understood apart from His holiness and justice. Nor should His holiness and justice be understood apart from His love and grace.

“God is not your Grandpa,” as my mentor Jen once put it.

By that she meant, He’s HOLY! …He’s not a big teddy bear before whom I can do no wrong.

Yes, He is gracious. And yes, He is love! But that love is a fiery, fierce and jealous love. Our God is far more than we often give Him credit for.

A lack of understanding here will lead us to live mushy, ineffective lives.

the lost art of fearing God

Personally, my growing and reverent fear of God is an important safeguard to help me keep from sinning. Hopefully my knowledge of God’s love for me will be enough to motivate me to right living, but when it’s not, a healthy appreciation for God’s holiness will.

“The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.”Proverbs 8:13 (ESV)

As I’ve grown closer to God and better understand His word, I process my sin in light of His light. This leads me to take it seriously!

I repent to Him whole-heartedly and confess the sin to another Christ-follower. I realize, once again, my sinfulness. I’m reminded of the gravity of what He did for me on the cross.

This humbles me. It makes me grateful.

His grace means more to me when I feel the gravity of my sin. That’s good, because that’s the truest truth. When we fail to fear God, we minimize both our sin and His holiness. More than likely, we bring judgement down upon ourselves.

Some of us are uncomfortable with this concept. We prefer to ignore God’s anger against sin altogether. We piece together the truths we like, a God with whom we feel comfortable.

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. Proverbs 14:27

What about seeking and knowing God on His terms and for who He really is –laying aside our “must” list for a God we would serve and diving into the Bible to know Him completely?

What about reading the Old Testament and recognizing that this too is a revelation of God… understanding that His character didn’t suddenly “change” when Christ came into the world?

If your full on grace and low on healthy “fear of God,” let me challenge you to branch out in your reading of scripture. Try the book of Isaiah. That’s what I’m reading!

How do you understand Biblical fear of God?


Additional Scriptures

“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, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,” Deuteronomy 10:12 (ESV)

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13

The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. Psalm 25:14″

“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28


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  1. Lindsey says:

    Yes, yes, yes! Oh this is so encouraging to read! My husband and I were just talking about this yesterday… What a true breath of fresh air! I sure wish there were more posts in the blogging world like this! Gentle reminders that while God is Love and offers us grace and forgiveness through Jesus, He is still just and holy. He is still jealous for our worship of Him alone, and He is certainly not our BFF. Thank you!

    • Thank you so much Lindsey! This is such a passion of mine, because God is opening my eyes to His holiness and it’s absolutely life-changing. We (as Christians) can easily be short-sighted in how we live our daily lives. We don’t realize what a deep tragedy this is in light of the greater, eternal realities at play! There is such urgency to live this life the right way, fully laid down at the foot of the cross! This is the direction I’m shifting my blog more and more, because I know God has given me this message. Thank you and God bless you!

  2. Valerie says:

    I have been researching this very topic for my Facing Fear series on my blog. There are some who believe fear means only a reverence and awe of God. But I believe that God’s holiness causes us to fear Him. It’s not a bad fear but trembling just may be involved when we see our sinfulness against a holy God and realize our desperate need for Him. It was a joy to visit from Grace and Truth!

  3. Saro says:

    Currently reading ‘Winning the Invisible War’ by EM Bounds. One point he stresses is how friendship with the world is enmity with God.
    Spiritual adultery is choosing the politically correct ‘marshmallow in the sky’ idea over The Holy Righteous God of The Holy Bible, Who Is to be feared, worshipped, and obeyed. Appreciate your timely insights. Solo Deo Gloria

  4. Michelle says:

    God is an All consuming fire! His judgement is righteous! Amen Sister!! There is such a need for God’s people to speak truth! If you claim Christ, you need to live it! I was in shock when I recently read an article that a Baptist Church in SC decided (meaning the pastoral team and the congregation) to allow same sex marriages and start allowing those of any sexual orientation to lead and serve in the church. It broke my heart! And then I read some of the comments and two stuck out to me: “the ruling on same sex marriages is really a blessing in disguise” “It’s separating the goats from the sheep”. It is Indeed!! Someone also comments that “Satan masquerades as a angel of light.” So True! I need to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. He will return one day for those that love Him and truly belong to Him it will be a most joyous day! For those who don’t it will be a day of judgment.

    In our home we have tried to teach and remind our children that God is Holy and He can not look upon our sin, and that is why Jesus came. He is Holy and we are to go to Him with a reverent fear. He is Love yes, but He is HOLY!! We have to take the God’s word entirely, not just pick and choose what sounds good, and tickles our ears.

    • SO true! You are echoing my sentiments exactly. I honestly feel the need to warn the Body of Christ of God’s holiness, anger against sin and justice. This is so, so, so important. And how many people go through life considering themselves to be a Christian, but never actually lay down their lives and forsake their sin? How terrible for them to miss the essence of the salvation that was available because the gospel they received was candy-coated to be politically correct and socially acceptable?

      Whew, I should stop… I get worked up about this. But thank you for your affirmation. God is holy. We just have to keep sowing that truth (along with His boundless love) into our children and our world.

  5. Rachel says:

    It’s quite novel to hear this actually spoken out loud! I hear this sentiment often at church and I totally agree with you.

    We discussed recently how, instead of most churches preaching on God and who he is, they have become part of a “consumer nation.” Where the church aims to please the attendee rather than help them please the Lord.

    Well said!

    • I definitely see that in Christian culture, and it’s concerning. If I have one message for all Christians everywhere, it’s “read the Bible!” So many things become clear in light of God’s word. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  6. Cindy says:

    Oh Katie, what a breath of fresh air to see this written. It’s like “somebody gets it”. We have been discussing this in church for a while now, and so many are looking for a “feel good” church so that they can mark it off their Sunday “to do list”.

    But even though we serve a loving God, we also serve a jealous God and a holy God. And one day God’s wrath will be upon those that “don’t get it”. Thanks for posting such a eye opening post. Gotta share this! Blessings,Cindy

    • Thank you SO MUCH Cindy. I was a bit nervous to publish this because it’s such a difficult thing to communicate and understand, so I’m relieved to hear good feedback! Thanks for the encouragement!

  7. Gina Bergey says:

    Amen, amen, amen – totally agree! It’s interesting, our pastor just preached on “The wrath of God” on Sunday, and you copied him in some of your phrases! 🙂

  8. Kirsten says:

    The popular thought for today is “God wants me to be happy”. There is no verse in the Bible that supports that. God wants us to be righteous; there’s a huge difference! It’s a good reminder to me to be more in the word – because I need to remember what God really wants and expects, not what the world says He wants.

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