The fear of the Lord
Satan has such a way of twisting God’s Word in such a way that it puts believers in terrible bondage. The problem with many churches is that many times, they are used by the enemy to program the innocent minds of the believers! They are teaching things that are causing God’s children to be afraid of God and run from Him instead of to Him. Our modern translations (the KJV is not excluded) don’t help either, as they often skew what the original texts were saying. Although I like the KJV the best for studying, I will tell you that it was not the inspired Word of God — the original texts were inspired, and the KJV is merely a translation (done by human hands) of the original manuscripts.
So let’s talk about this concept of the fear of the Lord. Fear is an unhealthy thing when we’re talking about relationships. It is a good thing to fear or respect a camp fire or a bottle of propane, but it is not helpful in the context of relationships, especially where emotional intimacy is involved. You could not freely enjoy an intimate relationship with your spouse if you were afraid or feared them, could you? It’s impossible! Intimacy requires trust, which is the polar opposite of fear. Fear makes it impossible to trust, therefore it’s like throwing ice water on intimacy, because intimacy is built on trust. You see, our relationship with God ought to be very intimate; the problem is, many of us don’t even know what that means or looks like. You can’t be in an intimate relationship with God and not have your life turned upside down, and frankly, many Christians have not yet had their lives turned upside down!
Many teach that the fear of the Lord is a respect and reverence of Him, but that teaching can quickly turn religious and cause us to feel like He’s so high and lofty that He’s almost unapproachable. Again, this kind of thinking is what wages war against our intimacy with our loving heavenly Father. You see, God is very approachable, and desires personal intimacy with us. He put His Spirit within us that cries out Abba Father! Approaching God should not feel like you’re standing beside a sky scraper, it should feel more like having fellowship with a best friend.
Now that I’ve laid some groundwork, let’s take a look at what God’s Word has to say on this matter. First, we often take the whole idea of fear of the Lord from the OT, from a passage such as this one:
Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.
But did you know that Jesus quoted this very passage, but interpreted it much differently? Take a look at this verse:
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
WOW! Isn’t that amazing? Yet so many teachings have been written on the importance of fearing God, all based on translation error. Satan wants God’s children to fear their heavenly Father, so that they will never experience true and freeing intimacy with Him. Without that intimacy and genuine relationship in place, we won’t grow and be transformed by His love. Look at how Satan uses a translation error to preach sewage to the children of God. We need to be on our toes church, because this is not an isolated case!
Let’s take a closer look at fear vs love in the NT, as it has some very important keys to help us understand this equation. As I said earlier, in a relationship context, fear and love cannot coexist:
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18
First, there NO FEAR in love! Second, love expels fear (then I suppose we ought to run from love, since we are to ‘fear’ God…?). Third, he who fears has not been made perfect in love. Knowing God’s love for us (which we cannot know if we fear Him) is crucial to our ability to experience the fullness of God in our lives.
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
When we fear God, it puts Him in a dictatorship position in our minds. Fear is the very thing that Adam and Eve experienced once they broke fellowship with God in the garden. They knew no fear before they knew sin. So if God’s plan for Adam and Eve was not for them to fear Him, then why do we believe today that God’s will for us is to fear Him? It seems that it is the devil who wants God’s children to fear Him, as God’s plan for man was never to fear Him.