What is your greatest fear? At one point or another we’ve probably all been faced with this question. Is it heights? Is it spiders? Is it the flu? Is it death?
I am not a big fan of any of those, but none of those is my biggest fear. It’s not even close, really. My biggest fear is people, more specifically people’s opinions. I fear what people think.
I don’t believe I am at all uncommon in this. I think most people fear people more than anything. The only reason they don’t admit it is because . . . they fear people. We are motivated, energized, and paralyzed, aggravated, and enervated by others’ perceptions of us. We wear what we wear, write what we write, and say what we say because of what others think. We even think what we think because of other people.
We are slaves to people. Because we are terrified of them. We are all slaves to each other because everyone is afraid.
And in this reality I see some of what it means to fear the Lord. “Fear the Lord” is a challenging phrase to get our heads around because fear isn’t a good or happy thing. Right?
But if we feared God like we feared people we would wear what we wear, write what we write, say what we say, and even think what we think out of God-fear. And that would be a good and happy thing, right? It would be good and happy because, unlike people, God isn’t afraid of us. He has no insecurities with which to respond to ours. He isn’t enslaved by our opinions of him.
So to fear the Lord is to turn our greatest fear toward the one who we can be certain feels no compulsion to respond in a hurtful way. God has no fear of man, and so we can safely fear him.