Fear is a fact of life, but not all fears are created equal. A fear of fire, heights or other dangerous situations are necessary for self-preservation. But a phobia is an irrational fear of something that’s unlikely to cause harm. It is estimated by the National Institute of Heath that 12.5 percent of the U.S. population has experienced a specific phobia at some time in their lives.
But what about the fear of the Lord? Is it healthy fear or an unhealthy fear? And why do we have to fear a loving God at all?
A recent listener to Core Christianity asked that exact question. She asked Dr. Michael Horton, “There are a few places in the Bible that says we ought to fear God. My question is how does this fit with trusting that God is our loving Father?” Mike answered:
Our culture has no concept of fear. Previous generations used to talk about being a God-fearing person. Today, even in churches, if you talk about the fear of God, people will say, ‘you’re not supposed to fear God.’ Yes, we are, actually. Unless we fear God, we will never come to appreciate what happens when He waves His hand to us, motioning us to come into His presence and boldly approach the throne as his sons and daughters. It begins with fear. .. “The Lord is saying, ‘Don’t fear anyone or anything else. Fear Me.”
The fear of the Lord really means that believers in Him are to have a God-centered view rather than a man centered view. Mike continued:
Whatever you fear, ultimately, is your God. Some people fear loss of income. They fear loss of their job. They fear the loss of a relationship because they turned their spouse into an idol. So, to fear God alone drives out our fear of other things and other people and other places.
Nothing is more critical than for believers to have a fear of the Lord. He holds the keys to death and hell, and only He can bring someone to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Mike Horton and Pastor Adriel Sanchez answer these sorts of practical questions each day on Core Christianity. For more information about how you can add Core Christianity to your lineup, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org