The Bible tells us to 'Fear the Lord', what's more, it tells us:
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning
of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Christians readily admit
and affirm this, but seldom stop long enough to think about what this
means. If you say you're going to raise your child in 'the fear of the
Lord', the person you say that to might cringe in horror, thinking you
must beat your child. To put the fear of God into someone has come to
mean to develop fear of authority and therefore fear of the ultimate
authority - God. If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
why do we cringe from the mention of it?
Love and Self-Will
We have the ideal in our heads that it's better to serve the Lord out
of love than fear. Well isn't it more noble to do what's right because
we love God? We should want to do what's pleasing to Him because we
love Him, rather than because we're afraid of what He will do to us if
we don't. This is an ideal, but unfortunately, we're not like this. Man
is self-seeking and a sinner that needs God's grace to be what he
should be. Man doesn't want to give up dominance of his own life. Man
doesn't like to be a slave. A Christian becomes a slave to God:
19 What? know ye not that
your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye
have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a
price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which
1 Corinthians 6:19,20
This verse can naturally
be followed up with one such as:
1 I beseech you
therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies
a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable
service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by
the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and
acceptable, and perfect will of God.
Romans 12: 1,2
Die to Self
In devotion to God, man must continually die to his own desires and
ambitions. This death to self isn't natural. So then, what about the
motivation of love? The only love that's self-sacrificing to the point
of death and denial of self is God's love. Man's love is conditional
and has limits. It grows weary. The love of God, by which we do what's
right, is imparted by grace in the Spirit. To continue in this, we must
die to self at every turn. Via this continual death, we see we're
always watching to walk above our sinful nature. Realizing our weakness
to lapse into sin, we walk with a true fear of God. We don't have vain
self-confidence of personal strength, but a trembling before God,
realizing His judgment on sin and our proneness to sin and return to
sin. This is the fear and trembling referred to in Philippians:
12 Wherefore, my beloved,
as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more
in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and
Boil it down to this:
Love is essentially self-sacrifice. Man doesn't tend to self-sacrifice.
An understanding of our own inability to do right forces us to seek
God's overcoming. Why should we seek to deny ourselves? The 'Fear of
God' is the answer.
Impact in Home Life
6 And these words, which
I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt
teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when
thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when
thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
I've seen people who say
they believe in God and prefer conservative values, but don't take the
time to diligently teach their children about Him. The Bible tells us
to talk about God morning, noon and night. He should be the continual
meditation of our lives and our family. Unfortunately, that's rare.
Business and the affairs of this life dominate our focus.
Look at this standard
conservative family I envision:
Children raised up that, in our day and age, are considered to be quite
good that the parents should be happy their children turned out so
well. The children are even polite. Something serious is missing.
The children, now adults, watch their tongues around people who don't
appreciate foul language, but not with others. They respect others
beliefs, so watch what they talk about around you, but living a life of
fornication isn't such a bad thing to them. What happened to the fear
of God in their lives? They were taught in their family that you get
along with others and show yourselves friendly and cooperative, but to
a good extent you decide your own life. This doesn't have the fear of
God. A child is raised in the fear of the Lord by raising him or her in
a life revolving around God. That's why God said we're to be talking
about Him and His ways morning, noon and night. To meditate on Him and
His word gives direction and understanding. To raise our children in
the fear of the Lord, there must also be the element of obedience to
the Lord in our lives. If we live as hypocrites, our children won't
care what we talk about. They'll think it a mockery and won't respect
the Lord, seeing we don't consider Him worth respecting.
A person raised in the fear of God won't just perform in the sight of
certain people, but will seek to do as God says even when alone. Why?
The obvious answer is that he knows that even if no one else knows, God
does and He will require it. One thing you can know, if a person
doesn't do what's right as a matter of life, the fear of God isn't in
him. Since 'the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom', that
person isn't wise. Taking that a step further, if the fear of the Lord
isn't part of our education, the education we receive isn't based in
Take the public educational system. Separation of God from education,
is separation of wisdom from education. Education that isn't wise can
only be one other thing, folly. How can this be with something as
simple as woodshop? In all we do in our lives, if the consideration of
God doesn't come first, the perspective is warped. Things and
activities such as woodworking must always be carried with the
perspective that our own pleasures and pursuits, activities and
employments must be tempered with the primary pursuit of seeking to
glorify God in whatever we do.
An Eternal Perspective
If what we do is apart from God, all we do is vain. Hay and stubble
that will be consumed in the day of judgment.
12 Now if any man build
upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare
it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every
man's work of what sort it is.
1 Corinthians 3:12,13
9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether
present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear
before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the
things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be
good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade
men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made
manifest in your consciences.
2 Corinthians 5:9-11
11 Seeing then that all these things shall
be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy
conversation and godliness,
2 Peter 3:11
What will all the labors
and possessions be worth in that day? All that will matter will be how
we stood before God in whatever we did. All will pass away, but that
right heart that was obedient to Him, the mind that dwelt on pure
things, the attitudes that were carefully patrolled to conform to His
image, that strove to be holy as He is holy and to obey as His Spirit
led, this will be what has lasting value.