Fearing God vs Being Afraid of God

There is a difference between fearing the Lord and being afraid of the Lord. The former recognizes the greatness of God and his ability to do whatever he chooses. Therefore, he submits himself to the one that he recognizes as sovereign. Those who are afraid of the Lord, do not submit themselves to a sovereign God to rule over them. They instead perform actions in an attempt to keep God from exercising his anger upon them. The former will have a love relationship with God: the latter will struggle with love and acceptance. 

How did Job respond when his world caved in upon him? He continued to fear the Lord. He remained steadfast in trusting God’s sovereignty and continued to submit himself to him. (Job 1:21) Had Job been afraid of God, would his actions have been the same? Most likely not. His actions would have more been in line with those of his accuser. If a person lives in fear and governs his actions to keep God from punishing him, how would he react when God does exercise wrath? As the accuser stated, “He will curse thee to thy face.” It would be in that manner that he would act.

God wants you to fear him, but not be afraid of him. Fearing God is respecting God for who he is and the power that he possesses. Those who fear the Lord will recognize God’s ability to raise up and to put down, to love and admonish or to rebuke and chasten, and to exercise his will because what he desires is for the benefit of those he created.

When you are afraid of God, you have a difficult time accepting his love. Being afraid and accepting love cannot cohabit because perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18). Recognize that God loves you and that any actions that he has towards you will be motivated by his love. As we seek him for our lives, blessings will flow to us from his love, but if our steps begin to slip, he by love will take whatever actions are necessary to keep us from ruining our lives.

Living a life of fearing the Lord is a joy and blessing, but living a life afraid of God is a struggle and burden.


Gird Up (1 Peter 1:13)

We tie up the turkey so that its appearance on the plate is more desirable. I tie up my tomato plants so that they have support in growing and I tie up the dog when I put him out to do his business so the that little bandit won’t run away. Why do we tie things up? We tie things up for their benefit or safety.

Spiritually speaking, we should do the same. The Scriptures admonished us to gird up our minds. 

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (1 Peter 1:13)

The reason we are told to do so is because it is at that point that we get and maintain the victory. If you control how you think, you will control your actions. The apostle Paul stated it another way.

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Both passages involved reeling in the thoughts of your mind. Those which don’t belong we need to recognize and cast down and those which are right should remain and we should continually think on them. (Phil. 4:8)

With our mind girded, we should be on guard and watch. Sober and watch are used interchangeably and it is this task that guards our hearts and minds. Jesus admonished his disciples with the same message: keep my commandments.  

Spiritually speaking, God wants us to closely watch and guard the commandments in our hearts. Keep sake, keep hold, the keep (the strongest part of a castle), she’s a keeper are all terms describing the act of watching or guarding a possession. Since the term keep means to watch or guard, then God wants us to guard our hearts and minds and keeping the commandments is to keep the thoughts that should remain in it.  

If you wait to govern yourself at the action level, you experience much failure and frustration. What you should do is gird up the loins of our minds with the commandments of God. Remember, how you think determines how you act.

Sneak Peak of God’s Big Deal (1 Peter 1:8-9)

I remember staying home from school sick. Being sick was never fun, but the best part of it was being able to watch the TV game shows. One of my favorites was Let’s Make a Deal. Sometimes contestants would blindly trade for items that they could not see, but at other times, contestants would be given a sneak peak at what was behind a curtain. Sometimes that trade would work out for good and other times it didn’t.

We as believers have somewhat the same opportunity. We get to experience a peak of what God has in store for us.

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9)

We don’t get to see into the future or peak to see what is on the other side of the pearly gates, but we do get to experience some aspects of our salvation on this side of eternity.

Before coming to Christ, sin controlled us with its dominating grip, but now we experience power over sin. No longer are we a slave to sin and bound in its chains. Salvation set us free and Christ gave us liberty. As the power of Christ gives us victory over sin, liberty gives us the ability to make right choices and to choose righteousness instead of sin.

We experience light and are no longer in darkness. God’s word lightens our path and the Holy Spirit lightens our eyes so that by faith we can see God and follow him. He also dwells in the heart of every believer and because of it, he guides, teaches, intercedes and gives us comfort. Because he dwells in us, we are never alone.

Our stepping stones to heaven are lined with great and precious promises. From them we have assurance of what God will do through us and also for us.

Probably one of my greatest experiences in salvation is my adoptive relationship with God. The night that I trusted Christ as savior, God the Father adopted me into his family. Before this, my heart experienced a great void: an emptiness that nothing on earth was able to satisfy, but when I came to Christ, the love of God filled my heart.

This is not all that we will experience. One day, our salvation will be complete, but until then, we get to peak behind Heaven’s curtain and see part of the big deal that God has prepared for us.

Praise Can Be Difficult (Psalm 34:1)

Some people today have received the heart breaking news that a loved one has passed away. Others may be under the heavy burden of finances or the obligations of work. Children may be a blessing from the Lord, but as you raise them, they may make decisions that absolutely devastate your life. With life as difficult as it is, is it outlandish to think that God wants us to continually praise him?

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Psalms 34:1)

In order for praise to continually be in your mouth, you must have a biblical perspective of life. You must recognize that God wants to use situations in your life to either develop or display your faith. When you have this perspective on life, trials and blessings are recognized as instruments for God’s glory. Remember, how you see life determines how you respond to it.

To praise is to boast. True praise boasts on the goodness of God and it has two purposes: to magnify the Lord and to encourage others to do the same. It is intended to be public so that others will hear. When you praise the Lord, you not only magnify him, but you solicited others to do the same.

My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. (Psalms 34:2)

Praise is not an attitude that you can just conjure up. It results from acts of trust. Throughout the Psalm, David declares the works that the Lord has done for him. Occasions of deliverance, hearing of prayers and encouragements all resulted from him trusting the Lord and because of them, praise flowed from his lips.

As you face difficult trials in your life, turn your heart to the Lord. Yield yourself to whatever he wants to accomplish and as you do, his spirit will guide your heart to the treasures that he has in store and enable you to praise him.

2 Chronicles 29:11-12

Our God, who is able to perform great and mighty acts, possesses the might to accomplish all that he desires and enables us to constantly overcome. He alone deserves grandeur, beauty, honor and excellency because all that is in the Heaven and Earth are his.

The blessings of riches and honor come from him. He reigns over all giving power and might to make great and to give all of us strength.

Our God is worthy of our praise.

Loving the God We Cannot See (1 Peter 1:8)

Love: a word used so freely today, but what does it mean? True love is the desire that a person has to meet the needs of another without expecting to receive anything in return. With that, a great question arises. Can you love someone with whom you have never met face-to-face? 

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: (1 Peter 1:8)

The answer is simple. You can love someone that you have never seen, but only if you have had the opportunity to interact with them.

In the early 20th century, a man in America, named Charles, began to correspond with the young woman, named Minnie, who lived on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Their many letters shared the events of their lives: their likes, dislikes, problems and struggles. The letters also contained hopes, dreams and passions. All the time as the letters were shared something began to happen. Each began to be concerned for the other and desired to be with them so that they may experience life together: to share, help, care and love. They fell in love and one day, decided to marry. They never met face-to-face until the day that she came off of the ship on America’s shore. To them, it didn’t matter what the other person looked like: they knew each other and recognized the beauty that each possessed within. Several decades later, I met them and marveled at their story of love.

We too can love someone that we have never met face-to-face. Through our interactions with the Lord, we can experience him in times of trials and testing. The words that he has recorded for us speak to our hearts and encourage us in the deepest of struggles. When sorrow comes, only his words bring comfort. When others have rejected and cast us out, his words of love and the promise to always be with us draw our hearts close to him. When nobody understands or cares, he does and he tells us to cast our cares on him. (1 Peter 5:7). When we are confused and searching for direction, he sheds light on our path to brighten the way. Each of these interactions bring us into a greater understanding of the person who saved us and through it all we begin to love him. 

One day, we will embark off of the ship on eternities shore and will take part in the marriage between Jesus and his church. But until then, our hearts rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory all because we know and love this person that we have never seen.  

Praise, Honor and Glory (1 Peter 1:7)

At the seat of the new man in Christ is faith. All that man is will come from his faith. Trials are not temptations to sin, but are testing of that faith. The results of the testing of faith affect man, testify to those around them and are intended to bring praise, honor and glory to God.

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: (1 Peter 1:7)

It is not our actions that bring glory to God, but instead our faith. Abstaining, performing and working may all appear to be what is expected of men, but they are not. Each of these could have a motive other than faith. Fear, shame and pride could all motivate man to strive at achieving these and the results would be nothing more than wood, hay and stubble (1 Cor. 3:12). Many have failed because they focused on producing the by products of faith instead of yielding faith to God.

Abide in the vine and you will yield the vine’s fruit. Read his word for the purpose of knowing and experiencing him. Do this so that your heart will love him more and become devoted to him. This is what is pleasing to the Lord.

Since the scriptures say, the just shall live by faith. Are you performing or abiding? The actions may appear the same: one will bring praise, honor and glory, but the other will yield shame.