I wonder what you think of when you hear the word ‘fear’? What immediately comes to mind? It may be that the word ‘fear’ reminds you of something you had to go through growing up, or a challenge that you are facing in the present. But one thing is for sure, the word ‘fear’ is always going to remind you of something negative. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who talks about their fears being positive!
It’s interesting to note that fear doesn’t actually exist on its own; it’s always a reaction to something else. For example, the fear of spiders is just a negative reaction to spiders, and a fear of the dark is a negative reaction to the dark. If you take the dark away, the fear can’t exist on its own, because fear is a lie! It merely creates a false reality that doesn’t actually exist!
However, there is one object of fear in the whole world which produces a positive reaction rather than a negative one. It’s often difficult to get our heads around this, because we always associate fear with something negative. But there is one fear that causes us to flourish and to grow in our relationship with God, and that is the fear of God. It is the most positive fear in the world!
The Hebrew word for ‘fear’ in today’s Scripture is a word that is also used to refer to reverence and the awesome nature of God. In the New Testament, the Greek term used for ‘fear’ is ‘phobos’, which again refers to awe, reverence and an understanding of God’s greatness. This shows us that the fear of God is actually a positive fear; in this context, fear does not mean being scared of God, but rather to be in awe of his greatness.
Proverbs 9:10 tells us that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. In other words, if we want to be wise, we need to start with an understanding of the fear of God. Every one of us wants to become wiser, and if the key to that growth is the fear of God, we need to start with an awe and reverence for who God is and what He’s done!