The Bible makes it clear that there is a fear of the Lord that every believer is to cultivate. True fear of God includes awe and respect, but it goes much further than that.
David tells us, “An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes” (Psalm 36:1, NKJV). David is saying, “When I see somebody indulging in evil, my heart tells me that such a person has no fear of God. He doesn’t acknowledge the truth about sin or about God’s call to holiness.”
Some may try to say that the fear of God is just an Old Testament concept, but we see godly fear mentioned throughout scripture. Paul quotes the Old Testament in his letters to the early church, “’There is no fear of God before their eyes’” (Romans 3:18) and adds, “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).
The fact is that godly fear gives us power to maintain victory in wicked times, so how do we obtain this fear? Jeremiah answers with this prophecy from God’s Word: “I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from me” (Jeremiah 32:39-40).
This is a wonderful promise from the Lord. It assures us that he will provide us with his holy fear. God doesn’t just drop this fear into our hearts in a supernatural flash, though. No, he puts his fear in us through his Word.
Does that mean God’s fear is planted in our hearts when we merely read the Bible? No, not at all. Scripture tells us how godly fear came upon the priest Ezra: “Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel” (Ezra 7:10).
True fear of the Lord comes when we consciously decide that we are going to obey every word we read in God’s Word.