Understanding the Fear of the Lord
by Lynette Kittle
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” - Proverbs 9:10
Growing up, I had a healthy respect or as some might describe “fear” of my parents. Not that I grew up fearing them but rather knew they deeply loved me and had certain guidelines they wanted me to follow.
As a kid, I didn’t really understand how their standards were for my good, and in my best interest to keep me safe and help me grow up healthy. In my childish thinking, it just seemed like they were trying to keep me from having fun and getting my own way.
Likewise, it’s difficult for many individuals to understand what it means to “fear the Lord.” Scripture may seem like it’s contradicting itself by telling you to fear God ( Proverbs 24:21), yet assuring you that God has not given you a spirit of fear ( 2 Timothy 1:7).
So what does it mean to fear the Lord and how is it different from being fearful of Him? Proverbs 8:13 describes it this way, “To fear the Lord is to hate evil.”
Hating evil means you detest and stay away from the things God hates, and choose to love and follow after the things He loves.
So how is it possible to distinguish between what God hates and what He loves? Begin by studying Scripture. Through reading it you’ll gain understanding to help you differentiate between the two because if you don’t know what is true, you won’t be able to tell what isn’t true.
Knowing God’s Word is foundational in being able to recognize what is false. Proverbs 16:6 states, ”Through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided.”
Do you know Christians who have seemed to be led astray? If so, it’s probably because they haven’t grown in their knowledge of God’s Word and aren’t able to distinguish between good and evil.
Romans 1:21 states how easy it is for individuals to be led astray stating, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Hebrews 5:12 explains how many by now ought to be able to teach the Word to others, but instead they need someone to teach the elementary truths of it all over again to them. To grow in understanding, Hebrews 5:14 describes how “solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
If you’re looking to grow in your knowledge and relationship with God, don’t be afraid of the Lord but fear Him. When you do, you will bring wisdom and understanding to your life ( Proverbs 9:10).
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, iBelieve.com, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, and more. She has an M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as an associate producer for Soul Check TV.
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