You’ll find the phrase, “fear of the Lord” or “fear God”, more than 50 times throughout scripture. What is the fear of the Lord? Does this mean we are to be afraid of God? No. For those who are in Jesus Christ, it means having a profound reverence [admiration]; a deep devotion; an overwhelming sense of awe [amazement mixed with wonder or fear]; and deference. Deference is a deep respect which makes you submit to another’s desires. More practically, a biblical fear of God includes understanding how much God, who is holy, hates sin and doing all you can to avoid living a sinful life. Fearing God means having such a reverence for Him that it has a profound impact on the way you live your life.

In the Bible, King Solomon spoke about the fear of the Lord in two of the books he wrote: Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Early in his life, he exhibited the fear of the Lord. But Solomon allowed it to be replaced with the worship of idols; an excess of women who led him away from God; and a gross misuse of his wealth. He got caught up in the trap that people often do today: he fell in love with all the enticements of the world. When you do that, you leave no room for God. Here’s what the Bible has to say about loving the world.

1 John 2:15-16 TLB

15 Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love these things you show that you do not really love God; 16 for all these worldly things, these evil desires—the craze for sex, [lust of the flesh]; the ambition to buy everything that appeals to you, [lust of the eyes] and the pride that comes from wealth and importance [pride of life]—these are not from God. They are from this evil world itself. 

Does this mean that God is against you working hard and having success in the world you live in? NO! But you should seek Godly success, which comes through our obedience to Him, and you should not be controlled by worldly allurements. They cannot be more important than God is to you.

The last book written by Solomon in the Bible was the book of Ecclesiastes and throughout that book, Solomon tells us everything he tried in order to find fulfillment apart from God in the world. Ultimately, he found everything to be meaningless. By the end of the book of Ecclesiastes [chapter 12], Solomon wrote these words: “Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man”.

Many Christians are quick to point to God’s grace [unearned favor] as an excuse for the lives they live. Thank God for His grace! But grace has a partner – and that is the fear of the Lord. We are admonished in Philippians 2:12-13, to live in a manner that gives meaning to our salvation, and to do that with fear and respect for God. More plainly, the way we live our lives should not offend God, discredit our Savior, Jesus Christ and should always bring Him glory.

If we live our lives with this focus, transformation is inevitable.