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Fearing God

Fear of God in the biblical sense is not fear in the average psychological sense; but there is no adequate word in English that is strong enough to describe it. Fear of God means a profound awe, respect, and reverence of God. It's profound, heavy awe in light of who he is, his holiness, and how infinite, magnificent, omnipotent, loving, incomprehensible, and totally different he his, that he is beyond our understanding.

Fearing God is the ultimate realization of worship and loving God with all our hearts, soul, and strength, and leads us to love God in such a way, more than ever before. Fearing God is the beginning of wisdom, for only then do we begin to realize who we are and what God is like, and what that means for us. Fearing God means approaching him with deep reverence, focusing on him rather than ourselves. It means our minds cannot handle how infinite, other-worldly, different, holy, and transcendent he is - our minds are boggled when we contemplate who he is. We can only accept some things as mysteries and paradoxes.

Thus, fearing God transcends the distinctions between the intellectual, spiritual, and emotional. All these are one when we fear him, all are merely different aspects of fearing God. Loving him with all our mind, soul, and strength, are all part of love, and love and fear of God are merely two sides of the same coin; there is no contradiction between biblical fear and love of God; rather, they are closely related, and counterbalance each other.

The awe and wonder of God, and experiencing his presence in that context as a result, lead us to an awe and love of God that is intellectual, emotional, and spiritual simultaneously. The distinctions break down. Unification of the spiritual, intellectual, and emotional. We respond in awe that is intellectual, because our minds meditate on him and are blown away by how great he is. We respond in awe that is emotional, because it leads us to love God, and to better experience his love. We respond in awe that is spiritual, because it leads us to worship and praise God in a far deeper, more reverent way, and in doing so we experience his love and presence in a deeper way.

It is hard for me to describe this in words. One has to experience it. I have only begun to learn and experience this myself, and I have much to learn and put into practice. But it has already changed my spiritual life, my attitude, how I pray, and even how I read Scripture.


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