We are living in a time where people everywhere are looking for ways to "push the envelope," so to speak. There is even a slogan that embodies this live-on-the-edge lifestyle and that slogan boldly states, "No Fear." Perhaps you yourself have seen those two words emblazoned on the back window of your neighbor's pickup truck, or maybe you've seen the No Fear logo on some guy's hat or sweatshirt. What is it all about? Well, in some instances it is the proud proclamation made by those who participate in extreme sports such as motocross or rock climbing or base jumping. In other instances it is just a design on a piece of clothing as part of a current fashion trend. But, unfortunately, I believe that No Fear is also the subtle cry of many who proclaim to be Christians. And although these Christians are not decorating themselves in No Fear paraphernalia, they live their lives as though they are truly without fear. But the fear that they seem to have lost is not the fear of participating in some radical sport or hobby. No, the fear that seems to have fallen by the wayside is their fear of the Lord!
How does this no fear attitude manifest itself in the professed Christianís life? It shows itself in many different ways. It is apparent when they break the Lordís commandments and go about their day-to-day activities living immorally with no care or concern for the one whom they claim is their Savior. For example, the bible is clear that God would have us abstain from sex outside of marriage (1 Corinthians 6:18; Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 1 Corinthians 6:9). Yet Christian men and women everywhere are fornicating freely with no true remorse and no plans on stopping. They have no fear.
Also, the bible is clear that we are to guard our minds and hearts from evil influences of this world (Psalm 101:3; Jeremiah 10:2; Romans 13:12; Ephesians 5:11-12, 15-16). Yet Christian men and women everywhere are filling their eyes, ears, and soul with sinfulness displayed via inappropriate movies, television shows, video games, and music. They find enjoyment and entertainment in the violence, sex, profanity, lies, and rebelliousness that they so willingly set before their eyes. They have no fear.
Furthermore, the bible says that as Christians we are to be separate and set apart; not giving place to the devil; pilgrims just passing through; cleansing ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit; living soberly, righteously and godly in this present world (1 Peter 2:11; Titus 2:12; 2 Corinthians 6:17; 1 John 2:15). Yet these fearless Christians look, act, and behave just like this sinful world with their suggestive My Space pages, revealing clothing, use of foul language, adornment of tattoos, and love of all things worldly and carnal. They are without fear!
But these things ought not to be, and this no fear attitude is in direct opposition of how the bible says Christians are to conduct themselves before our Holy God!
Where did such rebelliousness come from? How has this brazen attitude gained such a stronghold in the lives of so many professed Christians? Why have they lost their fear of the Lord? Sadly, I believe that part of the problem lies in the present-day churches themselves.
Many churches are teaching this no fear mentality by neglecting to share the whole counsel of God. These preachers will tell the congregation all about Godís mercy, grace, and forgiveness, but they never touch upon the weightier matters such as righteousness, holy living, repentance, and judgment. These preachers will spend 30 minutes telling the congregation to name it and claim it, focusing on God's abundant blessings for your life, yet they are afraid to say anything that might cause the congregation's conscience to be pricked (or their purse strings to be tightened).
Think about it. When is the last time YOUR preacher spoke out against fornication, lying, or immorality amongst the brethren? When is the last time you heard a sermon and truly felt grieved in your soul to the point where your sorrow led to repentance on your part? Have you been lulled into believing that all of the sins you are currently committing and the carnal ways you are clinging to are of no consequence because, hey, no one is expected to be perfect? Has your fear of the Lord been replaced with some mumbo-jumbo along the lines of "The God I serve is a forgiving God, so I am eternally sealed no matter what I do or how much I sin"?
Yes, most church leaders convey to the congregation that there is nothing to fear, as though God is some big teddy bear. The bible even warns us of this very occurrence: that certain men would fall short of preaching God's Holy Truths. Jeremiah 23:14 reads, "I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem a horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah."
Isaiah 29:13, "Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men."
The Lord has this to say about such worthless preachers: Jeremiah 23:21-22, "I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings."
People, wake up from this dangerous slumber! Whether your ignorance is because your pastor is not sharing all of God's Word with you or because you have just been too lazy to read the bible for yourself, you need to open your eyes and learn the fear of the Lord. Jesus' shed blood does not give you license to sin. Do not mock God with your words of love but actions of disrespect and shamelessness. If you have truly been born again, you should no longer be sinning, period!
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (Romans 6:1-2)
"Awake to righteousness, and sin not" (1 Corinthians 15:34).
"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Corinthians 7:1).
Ask yourself, have you been living as a "No Fear" Christian? When there is the fear of God, the Christian is striving to perfect holiness in their lives. When there is no fear of God, the person continues to wilfully sin. Which have you been doing? I beseech you to learn the fear of the Lord before it's too late. And we will see exactly what that means now.
What does it mean to fear the Lord and why is this of the utmost importance in the Christian's life? Here's what God's Word says on this matter:
Ecclesiastes 12:13, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."
Matthew 10:28, "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Psalm 89:7, "God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him."
Deuteronomy 10:12-13, " And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?"
Proverbs 8:13, "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate."
Malachi 1:6, "A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?
Psalm 33:8, "Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him."
Acts 10:34-35, "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."
1 Peter 1:17, "And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear."
Psalm 147:11, "The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy."
1 Samuel 12:24, "Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you."
So we have just read that God wants and deserves our fear, that He requires it of us. The fear of God means to have holy awe and reverence for God and His laws. You should hate and shun anything that would offend your Holy Father whom you love and respect. You should desire to be obedient to the one whom you call your Lord. Your sincere fear and reverence should lead you to live your life in such a way that would make your Heavenly Father proud. You should put His will above all others.
People have forgotten that fear of the Lord is a good thing and that it produces wonderful changes in our lives. This fear leads us to depart from evil. It teaches us knowledge and wisdom. It prolongeth our days and keeps us from wickedness. It strengthens our walk and helps us to strive to live holy, righteous, worthwhile lives. It is a fountain of life! Just look at what these verses tell us about the benefits of fearing the Lord:
Proverbs 1:7, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."
Proverbs 16:6, "By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil."
Deuteronomy 6:24, "And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day."
Proverbs 10:27, "The fear of the Lord prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened."
Proverbs 14:27, "The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death."
Proverbs 19:23, "The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil."
Psalm 34:7, "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them."
Psalm 145:19, "He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them."
Psalm 112:1, "Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments."
Proverbs 31:30, "Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised."
So in conclusion, never forget who God is. Never become highminded, arrogant, or presumptuous. Never take the Lord's mercy and grace for granted. And never lose your fear of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 5:29, "O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!"
(For more on this topic, please read this well-written article found here: Christian Fear)