There are erroneous ideas about the phrase “the fear of the Lord.” It’s a recurring theme throughout the book of Proverbs. Solomon writes that true wisdom is not a result of the collection of knowledge. Rather, it is gained through “the fear of the Lord.” The fear of the Lord does not mean to be afraid of God. God is not the bogeyman or the Wizard of Oz. The fear of the Lord is an active awe, reverence, and wonder of God recognizing His holiness and justice. It’s seeing God with the eyes of love and acknowledging God’s holiness, justice, and righteousness. The fear of the Lord is not passive. It motivates us to action. Our lives are transformed and changed by the power of God because we fear the Lord. 2 Corinthians refers to the fear of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.
The word Paul used for fear is the root of our English word phobia. It would be easy to skip over the fear of the Lord as a motivation for serving God. Fear isn’t fundamentally bad. It keeps people from putting their hand in a campfire. You learn to treat fire with respect because you know what it could do to you.
Respect for God in His holiness and power is one reason we are motivated to tell others about Jesus. If we truly believe that someone without a relationship with Christ will be forever separated from him, with no eternal home in heaven, then it should motivate us to tell everyone about Jesus. Our love for others and concern for their future will move us.
Think about how much you love your family, friends and even strangers who don’t yet know Jesus. Is that love enough to motivate you to tell them the story of Jesus? They will never be disappointed and eternally grateful.