The fear of the Lord may be the most significant thing we can learn concerning spiritual warfare. If spiritual warfare was a wheel, and all the spokes of the wheel were different aspects of spiritual warfare, the fear of the Lord would be the hub of that wheel, holding all the spokes together in their perfect place and in perfect alignment.
The Bible is full of instruction concerning the fear of the Lord, but we rarely see it taught with any depth or clarity. I believe the main reason for this is that the Church, for the most part, has lost the fear of the Lord. We have almost no one to model the fear of the Lord for us and what we see modeled is religious fear and the fear of man.
Isaiah 29:13 Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,
Religious fear is marked by religious activity, and a works mentality. It often comes from a desire to be involved in a religious organization, like a church or ministry that appeals to our itchy ears. Religious fear is a fear taught by men and does not bring a person’s heart closer to God. It is not motivated by the fear of the Lord but by religious conformity to a certain doctrine or religious practice.
People bound by religious fear attend church and experience the presence of the Lord in worship but go home and remain unchanged. They attend church but never become the Church. They bear little fruit and show no spiritual growth, just an increase in religious knowledge.
Fear of Man
Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.
The fear of man trusts in man’s opinion instead of God’s word. A fear that is motivated by the demands and expectations of leadership. A fear that is driven by a desire to be approved of a person or an organization rather than God. We can easily be trapped in the fear of man if our primary way of learning about the Bible is to allow other men to teach us without having a real hunger for reading and understanding the Bible for ourselves.
The Bible is the only book that is alive. There are certain parts of the Bible that the Lord will highlight to us personally, and emphasize to us emphatically if we will esteem it properly. If we trust the reading and interpretation of God’s word wholly to others, we will never discover the fullness of what God is saying to us personally. We must all find ourselves in the scriptures.
Another type of fear we need to identify is demonic fear.
Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
The mark of demonic fear is that it is unnatural, unreasonable, and tormenting. It binds and enslaves, making us feel powerless against it. Demonic fear is a clear indicator that we need a revelation of the love of God, and that we lack an intimate relationship with the Father.
God is Love. If we practice intimacy with God daily when no one else is looking, the power of demonic fear will soon be broken.
We see in 1 John 4:18 that there is no fear in love, and that perfect love casts out fear. By this we know that the fear of the Lord is very different from the three types of fear mentioned above.
So, what is the fear of the Lord?
The fear of the Lord is a supernatural perspective that must be desired and pursued. It is a act of our will and a fear that is to be reserved for God alone. The fear of the Lord has profound effects on every aspect of our lives. It is the reasonable response to His holiness, His omnipotence, and His immeasurable majesty.
The fear of the Lord is a holy awe. A reverential admiration that produces in us a desire for absolute obedience and a need to treasure Him in worship. The fear of the Lord births in us a holy hatred for sin and a submissive heart that desires to always be pleasing to the Father.
The fear of the Lord is a doorway to signs and wonders. When we lose the fear of the Lord, we sacrifice much of the supernatural in our lives and in our services. All we are left with is an atmosphere that God frequently visits, but not a people with whom He abides in and moves through.
The fear of the Lord is one of the seven-fold expressions of the Spirit of God. To better understand the fear of the Lord, we must familiarize ourselves with the person and nature of the Holy Spirit. The seven distinct characteristics, or expressions of the Holy Spirit are listed in Isaiah 11:2, and also referred to in Revelation 4:5, and 5:6.
Isaiah 11:1-3 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. 3 His delight is in the fear of the Lord, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears;
This is a prophecy about Jesus and the seven-fold expressions of the Holy Spirit that marked Him as the Messiah. The same Spirit now abides in every believer.
In verse 3 we see that above all these seven expressions of the Spirit, Jesus delighted in the fear of the Lord.
In Hebrews we see how the fear of God caused Jesus’s prayers to be heard and answered.
Hebrews 5:7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear
If the fear of the Lord was important for Jesus to have His prayers heard and answered, how much more important should it be for us?
In Malachi 3, we see an important dialog about the fear of the Lord. As God was rebuking and correcting His people for complaining, there were some among them that feared the Lord and had a conversation amongst themselves. They were not praying, just talking with one another.
Malachi 3:16-17 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another,
And the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name. 17 “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.”
The fear of the Lord is so significant, that God not only hears and answers the prayers of those that fear Him, but He also listens to every conversation. In this case, a book of remembrance was written in Heaven because of their Godly fear and meditation on His great name. God said of those that feared Him, “They shall be mine, and I will make them my jewels.”
Consider just how important the fear of the Lord is to our Heavenly Father.
Isaiah 33:6 Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, And the strength of salvation; The fear of the Lord is His treasure.
To fear the Lord is to see God as our treasure. God’s treasure is when we see Him with a clear and proper perspective. To fear Him, is to treasure Him and give Him our whole heart.
Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Blessings of the Fear of the Lord
Attached to the fear of the Lord are more promises and blessings than any other theme mentioned in the Bible as far as I can tell. Other than being God’s treasure, let’s look at some of the other blessings that the fear of the Lord brings.
Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.
Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction
Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore, get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.
Wisdom, knowledge, and understanding are also expressions of the seven-fold Spirit of God, but they all begin with the fear of the Lord. Wisdom is described as the principal thing. Meaning it is first in rank and order. It is the first fruit, yet it starts with the fear of the Lord.
The fear of the Lord is the catalyst by which all other expressions of the Holy Spirit are perfected. It is the tree that all other branches of the Holy Spirit grow from.
Psalm 25:14 The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant.
Proverbs 20:5 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, But a man of understanding will draw it out.
The Spirit of council, another facet of the seven-fold Spirit of God, reveals the secret of the Lord and His covenant by the fear of the Lord. The Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of every believer. To understand and receive Godly council, to understand the secret mysteries of the Lord, and to be a good steward of those mysteries, one must fear the Lord.
Proverbs 1 28-29 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. 29 Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
The fear of the Lord is a choice. It is an act of our free will, and the first step to complete submission.
Psalm 34:11 Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Psalm 25:12 Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.
Psalm 86:11 Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.
If we choose the fear of the Lord, that is the beginning of wisdom. When we ask God to teach us the fear of the Lord, that is the beginning of true knowledge and understanding.
Job 28:28 And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.’
Psalm 89:7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those around Him.
There must be a restoration of the fear of the Lord when we assemble. The reverence and awe that is missing in the Church will only return if we choose it and seek it. We must ask God to forgive us and teach us about the fear of the Lord so we can become the bride without spot or wrinkle.
2 Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Holiness is only perfected in the fear of the Lord. We are commanded to be holy as He is holy. (1 Peter 1:16) The narrow pathway to holiness is through the fear of the Lord.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.
What is the bottom line? Fear God and do what He says. Pretty simple huh? Let’s not make it complicated.
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