Fear of The Lord Being In Awe Of Him [Part – 4]

The concept of sanctification goes beyond mere cleanliness; it involves being set apart for a specific purpose. Just like in Indian households where certain utensils are kept holy and only used for guests, we too are set apart for God's divine purpose.

July 24, 2023

Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth.
JOHN 17:17

The concept of sanctification goes beyond mere cleanliness; it involves being set apart for a specific purpose. Just like in Indian households where certain utensils are kept holy and only used for guests, we too are set apart for God’s divine purpose. So Jesus urges, “Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth.”

The word “truth” carries the meaning of reality, depicting what is real and genuine. In the context of Jesus praying, He seeks to set us apart in His reality, the ultimate truth. Often, we find ourselves trapped in our own subjective realities, where we may believe that the earth revolves around us and not vice versa. This mindset centers everything on our personal issues, careers, quality of life, and problems. However, to break free from these limitations, redemption can only be attained through the truth found in Jesus.

God’s purpose in sending Jesus was not merely to rescue us from hell, but primarily to deliver us from our own self-destructive tendencies that were leading us astray. The most significant deliverance we require is from our reliance on our own strength and abilities. The story of Adam consuming the knowledge of good and evil exemplifies the moment when humanity became mentally separated from God. However, in reality, we can never truly be disconnected from God’s presence; He is omnipresent. As the Psalmist affirms, whether we ascend to the heavens or descend to the depths, God is always there with us. Nevertheless, in our minds, we can choose to distance ourselves from God through a willful decision. It’s comparable to saying that Delhi, being the capital city of India, cannot be removed from the country. However, if Delhi decides to isolate itself, it can create a self-imposed separation, despite physically remaining within India.

You cannot truly be separated from God; you exist within God, and you are in Christ. However, if you choose to close off your access to God, even though you are inherently in God, you will live as if you are disconnected from Him. Romans 8:30 and 8:39 affirm that nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. This truth is absolute and undeniable. No demon, angel, powers of darkness, nor anything in heaven or on earth can sever the bond between you and God’s love in Christ Jesus.

It’s essential to recognize that while many Christians claim to love Jesus, not all of them fully experience the depth of His love, and there lies the difference. The obstacle that often hinders this experience is the fear of the Lord. When we fear the Lord, it leads us to a profound awareness of God’s love for us. Mere verbal professions of love for Jesus, rooted in our own fleshly desires, may not yield fruitful results. True and profound communion with Jesus comes from surrendering to His love and allowing it to transform us from within.

Your profound love for Jesus is a response to His boundless love for you. We love because He first loved us. Your authentic affection for Jesus is born from His love. It’s true; we cannot love Jesus on our own. So, how do we love God? How can we show our love for Him and serve Him? The truth is, we can never love Him enough. Just like I can’t love my parents with the same intensity they love me, we can’t compete with God’s love. Instead of stressing and striving to find the perfect way to love God, let’s take a moment to simply recognize how much He loves us. Embrace His love and let it flow through us in all that we do.

The question is not merely whether you love God, but rather, do you comprehend and grasp the depth of God’s love for you? The awareness of God’s love arises when we experience awe – awe for His presence, awe for who He is. This profound understanding of God’s love is accompanied by a healthy reverence for Him. The fear of the Lord is not about being afraid of God, but rather, it is an overwhelming realization of what it means to be outside of God’s love. It is not to be scared, but to be terrified of the consequences of living without God’s love.

Fear of the Lord is not to be scared

Looking at Adam and Eve, we can see that they lacked the fear of the Lord, which is why they felt fear and shame in His presence after their disobedience. The fear of the Lord is to be terrified of the emptiness and chaos that can result when God is not at the center of our lives.

That’s why I deeply admire the Psalmist, particularly David, who expresses his profound humility and faith in Psalm 51. This psalm was written shortly after he had been confronted by the prophet Nathan about his acts of adultery and murder. Despite his grave sins, David’s immediate response was not to hide or justify himself; instead, he pleads, “Have mercy upon me, O Lord, according to your unfailing love.”

David could have tried to defend his actions or boast about his past faithfulness and accomplishments, such as offering the best sacrifices and planning to build the temple for God. However, he recognizes that it is not about his track record or self-justification. Instead, he acknowledges God’s faithfulness and seeks His mercy.

In John chapter 11, we encounter another powerful example of faith and trust in God. When Mary and Martha sent a message to Jesus informing Him of their brother Lazarus’s illness.

So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
JOHN 11:3

The sisters sent a letter, stating that the one you love is ill. This shift in focus centers around the fear of the Lord, which alters our thinking paradigm. Rather than solely focusing on ourselves and our goodness, we now recognize the goodness and faithfulness of God. This complete change in focus is significant. Instead of asking the Lord to return because the one we love is sick, we should remember that our love for Him may waver, but His love for us never does. When we fix our attention on His unfailing love, it fosters a deeper love for Him within us.
True love is an automatic response that arises when one knows they are loved by God. The love we receive from God is essential, as it leads to mutual submission in the fear of the Lord, as mentioned by Paul when discussing the reason for submitting to husbands. This mutual submission is a recognition of God’s perfect love for us. It’s not about demanding love, but rather realizing that God’s love is an abundant and continuous supply. Understanding the fear of the Lord is not about being scared but being confident in God’s love for us. As John expressed in 1 John 4:18, perfect love drives out fear, as fear is related to punishment. To my brothers and sisters, there is a healthy fear of God that we need—an awareness of His love, holiness, and goodness, leading us to be in awe of His presence.

Don’t let devil bully you

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 PETER 5:8

Now, it’s crucial to understand that when you face spiritual attacks, the devil is not merely causing minor inconveniences, like a flat tire or a headache. His intentions are much darker; he seeks to devour and destroy you. The intensity of his attacks reflects his desire to steal, kill, and destroy. However, you are protected by the grace of the Lord, and what you may experience as minor inconveniences is a result of that protection.

Do not become complacent or dismissive of these attacks, thinking they are insignificant. Recognize that the devil’s ultimate goal is to take away your destiny and render you spiritually dead. If he can rob you of God’s Word in your life, he can kill your purpose and destroy your destiny, leaving you living as a mere shell of your true potential. It is crucial to stay vigilant, aware, and firmly rooted in the Word of God to withstand these attacks and preserve your destiny.

Don’t let the devil bully you here, Peter warns. “Be watchful, be alert, be sober-minded.” The devil is like a roaring lion, seeking to deceive. However, we must remember that he is not the roaring lion; that title belongs to Jesus. The devil mimics and pretends to be like Jesus, and the reason behind this deception can be found in Proverbs 19:12 and Proverbs 20:2.

A king’s wrath is like the growling of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass.

The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life.

By imitating the lion of Judah, the devil aims to disqualify us from having confidence in God’s love. Therefore, let us remain vigilant and hold steadfast in our faith.

He may try to bring shame and sin into your life, attempting to disqualify you and give you the wrong impression that Jesus is angry at you. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Fear of the Lord is the awareness of God’s love, mercy and kindness
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. God loves you; He is not angry at you, but rather at sin. There’s a distinct difference. Satan may twist this truth to claim that God is angry with you, but we must remember that God’s anger is directed towards sin, not us. I am grateful that He is angry at sin, including my own. Why? Because He is a consuming fire that can eradicate sin from my life. He is also angry at sickness, but not at us, for that fire can consume sickness and remove it from us.

I can be clean, I can be pure, I can be set apart, I can be holy. The devil will try to mimic an angry version of Jesus towards you, but I’m here to tell you that you must stand firm on God’s Word. Stand on the finished work of Christ, for whatever Jesus died for has set you free once and for all. God does not hate you; in fact, He loves you deeply. You need to be confident in God’s love, and that confidence grows when you experience God’s presence and grasp the magnitude of what happened on the cross. The cross is not just a theology; it becomes a living reality in your life.

I know I’m forgiven, and you can also know that you’re forgiven. But it’s essential to experience that forgiveness deeply. When you truly experience forgiveness, it transforms you. It ignites a passion for the kingdom of God within you. You become willing to endure suffering for Jesus and love others unconditionally, even when you are hurt. This is the power of experiencing forgiveness and salvation. Don’t allow the devil to bully you or make you feel disqualified from God’s grace.

Having a healthy fear of God is like having a protective fence around you, keeping away unwanted things and allowing God’s love, mercy, kindness, and grace to dwell within. Embrace the fear of God, for it will bring you closer to His presence and keep you on the right path. Stay in the fear of God.

So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
JOHN 11:3

Now, it’s important to note that Jesus loved Martha and her sister, Lazarus. In this verse, we see something unique: Martha does not mention Mary when referring to those Jesus loved, whereas Mary identifies herself and her sister. Hence, we can infer that Jesus loved Martha.

However, it’s worth considering verse six

So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
JOHN 11:6

It states that even though Jesus knew about Lazarus’ illness, He stayed where He was for two more days. This might be puzzling to understand why He didn’t immediately go to Lazarus upon hearing about his illness.

But Jesus is taking two more days. The moment he knew that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer. Right now, after two days

After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
JOHN 11:11-15

“Take a look at this situation: Jesus intentionally waits for two days before going to Lazarus. Why? Because he’s waiting for Lazarus to die. He purposely waits and even tells his disciples that it’s for their sake. He wants them to witness God’s glory firsthand. Jesus never delays without a purpose, my friends. Sometimes, he stays away intentionally to reveal his glory.

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
JOHN 11:20-22

It may seem like Martha is saying all the right words, like a church-going Christian who knows the right phrases.”

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
JOHN 11:23-25

Now, here’s my question: Did Martha genuinely believe what she said? She addresses Jesus as “Lord,” uses all the right phrases, and implies that she truly believes in who Jesus is and that nothing is impossible for him. But does she truly believe? Many times, we find ourselves being like “Martha Christians” – individuals who attend church regularly and become too familiar with the external aspects of religion, such as the appearance of God’s presence. However, there might be a discrepancy between what we say and what we genuinely believe in our hearts.

When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.”
JOHN 11:28

In public, she calls him ‘Lord, you are the Messiah, the Son of God. I believe everything that you say is going to happen.’ But in private, she refers to him as ‘the teacher is here.’ What does she truly believe in her heart?”

“You see, our true intentions are often hidden, and it is only under pressing circumstances that they are revealed. We may say one thing with our mouth, but our genuine intentions are exposed in such moments. Jeremiah aptly described the heart as the most deceived and deceptive creature of all. In this context, let’s examine Mary’s response in verse 29.

And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him.
JOHN 11:29-30

It seems that Martha didn’t explicitly invite Jesus inside, so he stayed there. However, Mary eventually reached the place where Jesus was and fell at his feet.”

You see, posture matters. Whether it’s your posture during prayer or while listening to God’s word, it reflects the true intentions of your heart. In this passage, we observe Mary’s posture of falling at Jesus’ feet, expressing her grief and faith, saying, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Interestingly, Martha also said the same thing earlier, but the difference lies in the responses they received from Jesus.

When Mary says these words in verse 35, we witness Jesus’ emotional response. He weeps with her and empathizes with her pain. On the other hand, when Martha said it, Jesus engaged in a theological discussion with her. The contrast in Jesus’ reactions highlights the significance of our postures before Him. It reveals not only our words but also our emotions and faith. So, let this be a reminder that our posture matters in our relationship with God.

Do you know why? Because Mary revered the Lord. Look at her posture; the moment she hears that Jesus is there, she falls at his feet. I remember during a morning devotion, Betty pointed out that Mary was familiar with the feet of Jesus. It wasn’t her first time being familiar because she had stood at his feet before, listening to his teachings. She had stayed close to him, pouring her oil and anointing his feet. Mary truly had the fear of the Lord, an awe of God. That’s what set her apart and made her different from Martha.

Do you know what happens next? Lazarus is raised from the dead. If you desire to witness the supernatural power of resurrection working in your life, it can only happen when both you and I are in complete awe of who God is. The fear of the Lord is about showing honor for who He is, an absolute reverence. It’s not about being scared, but about displaying genuine honor.

Fear of the Lord is to be terrified to be away from God

The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.
PSALM 25:14

I remember that day when the Lord spoke to me, saying, “Sam, you cannot be My true friend until I become your Lord.” You can’t truly be a friend of God until you receive Him as the Lord of your life. Let me share some insights from my experiences in missions.

Legalism vs Lawlessness

As Christians, and I include myself in this category, we often tend to swing from one extreme to another. When Lighthouse began, we were stuck in the extreme of legalism, but God delivered us from that mindset. However, I fear that we may now be veering towards the other extreme of lawlessness. It’s essential to understand that grace is not an invitation to lawlessness. Jesus Himself declared, “I am the way,” and indeed, the way is narrow because there are ditches on both sides.

One ditch is called legalism, where strict adherence to rules becomes the focus, overshadowing the love and grace of God. The other ditch is lawlessness, where people misuse grace as an excuse to live without any accountability or moral boundaries.

In seeking the true path, we must navigate this narrow way that avoids both extremes, finding the balance between grace and obedience, between freedom and responsibility. True friendship with God lies in surrendering to Him as our Lord while embracing His grace and love.

You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

It emphasizes that loving righteousness should go hand in hand with hating wickedness. We should not take a casual attitude towards sin, neither in ourselves nor in others. While God’s grace is available for sinners, we must remember that His grace opposes sin.

Having a casual attitude towards sin is not acceptable. Lawlessness thrives on this casual approach. I want to emphasize that theology, while important, can be used by the devil to disqualify us if we are not careful. The fear of the Lord entails hating evil and detesting everything that God hates. Let us declare together: “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil and abhor all that God despises.” We must recognize that whatever God hates, He sent His Son to die for. So, we cannot afford to be nonchalant about the things He despises. God sent His Son to die for our sins, our sicknesses, and to free us from all forms of oppression. Therefore, we must passionately hate and oppose these things. If Jesus died for it, I am committed to hating it with all my heart and life.

The fear of the Lord is not about being scared, but rather about being aware of His love and what He has accomplished through Jesus. It is to hate evil with all your being, to detest every form of wickedness and limitation. Do not become complacent; instead, passionately hate evil.

Fear of the Lord is God’s treasure

Let me share a verse that emphasizes the significance of the fear of the Lord:
and he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure.

And 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 the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
ISAIAH 11:2-3

Understanding the fear of the Lord as a profound reverence for God and hating evil should be at the core of our relationship with Him.

The fear of the Lord is not an unhealthy terror of punishment, but rather a deep reverence and profound respect for who God is. Serving the Lord with fear and trembling can be compared to the emotions experienced while riding a rollercoaster. Just like you might tremble with fear on the ride, there is also a strange sense of joy and excitement because of the assurance provided by the seat belt that keeps you safe. Similarly, the fear of the Lord brings excitement, knowing that you are protected in life’s highs and lows, allowing you to truly enjoy life under His care.

It’s crucial to understand that the fear of the Lord is not about being afraid but acknowledging His presence and not taking it casually. With this fear, you can find security and confidence, knowing that you are protected and can fully embrace God’s presence in your life.

Practically, reflecting on the fear of the Lord involves examining your physical posture as it often mirrors your heart’s posture. Take a moment to check your posture. How do you sit, pray, or read the Word? In today’s digital age, we have easy access to the Bible on our phones, making it convenient to do morning devotions from the comfort of our beds. However, it’s essential to understand that this is not about whether God will hate you for it; rather, it’s about the state of your heart.

Consider whether you truly recognize who is speaking to you when you engage in these spiritual practices. Are you approaching prayer and Bible reading with a deep reverence for God, or has it become a casual routine without much thought? Remember that the fear of the Lord is about having a deep respect and honor for God, acknowledging His presence and authority in your life. So, as you go about your daily spiritual activities, be mindful of your heart’s posture and seek to approach them with a profound awareness of God’s significance in your life.

If you had to attend a conference that spoke about the seven keys to abundance and wealth, you would be sitting there with your notebooks, arriving early and filled with expectation. Yet, here you are in the presence of the Almighty God, doing your morning devotion right from your bed. Your posture truly reflects how much you believe in this God. Have you read your Bible? Whenever people had an encounter with the Lord, they couldn’t even stand straight but would automatically fall down due to the fear of the Lord gripping their hearts.

Do you wonder why your prayers often go unanswered? It could be due to a lack of fear and reverence for God. Think about how Jesus taught his disciples to pray: ‘Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.’ We should greatly revere and fear God’s name, but sometimes we casually use it whenever we like. I cherish the gospel of good news and love that we serve a God who is a loving father rather than a dictator, but we must not forget that He is also a king.”

Growing up, my dad was a pastor who started a Bible school in the nineties. Many people would visit his office seeking counseling, and even as a young child, I would occasionally barge into his office without much consideration. I took pleasure in doing so, using it as an opportunity to show off that I was his son. There was a certain boldness and confidence in my actions, feeling like I could enter his presence anytime I pleased. However, as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize that such behavior is inappropriate and reflects poorly on both him and myself. I have learned to show respect and consideration for his time and position.

In the house of God, children can play around freely, but it’s essential for mature men and women to step up and take authority. Such authority comes from submission and recognizing the power and sovereignty of God. God doesn’t grant authority to those who are spiritually immature, like babies. Authority is given to those who understand and acknowledge the responsibility that comes with it. This understanding comes through a sense of mission and purpose. Unfortunately, there are too many spiritually immature individuals in the church who act like children, not realizing the weight and significance of God’s call on their lives. They might be playing around without grasping their true purpose and the glory that God has placed upon them.

In the Gospel of John, the author, who is traditionally believed to be the apostle John, refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” This phrase emphasizes the close and intimate relationship John had with Jesus during his earthly ministry.

However, in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 1), when John has a profound encounter with the resurrected Jesus, he falls down at His feet, unable to stand. This reaction is due to the overwhelming presence of the exalted Jesus as the “King of kings.” It highlights the awe-inspiring majesty and authority of Christ in His glorified state.

The passage goes on to mention that anyone who receives Jesus has the right to become a child of God. While being a child of God is a wonderful and essential aspect of faith, but for those who desire to grow in the anointing and calling that God has on their lives, they must become more serious and mature in their relationship with Him. This growth entails moving beyond a childlike faith to embrace a deeper understanding of God’s purposes and to live in alignment with His will.

Embracing God fully demands your complete commitment. To know all of God, you must give all of yourself. There’s no doubt in my mind about anyone’s salvation—I’m absolutely certain of it. However, salvation isn’t the end; it’s the beginning. Don’t settle for merely attending church; strive to work out your salvation and mature spiritually, reflecting God’s love to others.

Understanding the fear of the Lord brings divine knowledge and growth. Here are three essential points to consider.

Firstly, intentionally choose to fear the Lord.

Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord.
PROVERBS 1:28-29

This verse illustrates that those who reject the fear of the Lord will not find His guidance. Therefore, to grow in divine knowledge, consciously embrace the fear of the Lord, which humbles the heart.

To become humble is to acknowledge your limitations and dependence on God, saying, “Lord, I need you. I cannot do this on my own.” True humility is recognizing that you are not self-sufficient and that you require the sufficiency of God. Therefore, intentionally choose to fear God.

Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

This verse advises against relying solely on your own wisdom, as many fall into the trap of being wise in their own eyes. Instead, fear the Lord and distance yourself from evil. Humility involves renouncing self-centered wisdom and embracing a stance of repentance and reliance on God’s guidance.

Renouncing self-wisdom and embracing repentance is crucial. Prayer should be an integral part of each passing day, where you seek God’s wisdom and avoid relying solely on your understanding. Pray earnestly, “Oh God, grant me your wisdom. I don’t want to lean on my own understanding. Fill me with your Holy Spirit daily, that I may remain humble and dependent on You. Fill me again and again, for I need and desire You.”

Intentionally ask the Holy Spirit to teach you the fear of the Lord

Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
PSALM 34:11

We are called to listen and be taught the fear of the Lord. This fear is instilled by the Holy Spirit, as seen in Isaiah 11, where one of the Spirit’s aspects is the spirit of fear upon Jesus. Embrace learning from the Holy Spirit.

Make it a habit to engage in morning devotions each day. Examine the posture of your heart and your physical stance during these times. If you find it challenging to maintain a consistent devotional practice, seek support and prayer from others who can help you stay focused on your spiritual journey.

Be humble. Choose fear. Intentionally ask the Holy Spirit to teach you the fear of the Lord.

Finally, renounce self-dependence.

Repent and say, “Lord, I want you in my life. I know that I’m smart enough, but I want you.” Remember, He chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise and the weak things to shame the strong. Embrace your foolishness and weakness, for God’s strength is not perfected in your own strength, but in your weakness. If you’re weak, God’s strength will be perfected in you. Don’t be too strong; instead, be humble and recognize that you need the Lord in your life.

About the author

Samuel Thomas

Samuel is a second-generation pastor with a rich heritage in the Holy Spirit. He has been the pastor of Lighthouse Church since 2017 with a two-word mission statement: transforming lives. Samuel's priority in life has been to know Christ and to grow deeper in His love.

Recent Sermons