‘…through the fear of the LORD evil is avoided.’ Proverbs 16.6
This phrase – ‘the fear of the Lord’ – can be hard for us to understand. We are encouraged to seek a life of intimacy with God, and to learn to trust in him and not to fear. So how can we be fearful of the Lord if we are intimate with him?
One of the more modern translations (CEV) puts it like this: “If we show him respect, we will keep away from sin.” Perhaps this sums up what it means to fear the Lord. It implies taking his presence seriously, even when we have no awareness of him with us.
If you could see Jesus standing by your side at all times, you might well find yourself behaving differently! His physical presence would change the way you live and act. Perhaps you would sin less, be bolder in your witness, stop criticising and pray more!
The Bible tells us that Jesus is always present. He actually stated in Matthew 28.20, “I am with you always”. You may not see or feel him, but perhaps this is precisely why he spoke these words, assuring you that he will be with you at every moment.
Fearing him is taking his presence seriously, so let’s live our lives in the knowledge that he really is standing right next to us – and then notice the difference this makes.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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