Walking in the fear of the Lord has tremendous benefits that come with it. Promises all over the Bible encourage us to fear the Lord. But what does it actually mean to fear the Lord?
What Does it Mean to Fear the Lord?
Fearing the Lord does not mean being scared of God in a way that causes you to withdraw and hide from Him. There is a kind of fear that comes from Satan which causes you to doubt the Word of God and is evil. We are strongly commanded to resist this kind of fear in every form. This is not what the Bible is referring to when it says to fear the Lord.
There are over 300 verses in the Bible that talk positively about the fear of the Lord.
The Word “fear” used in most of these Bible verses means to reverence the Lord, to honor Him, to stand in awe of Him, to love Him.
The Hebrew word for “fear”, used in verses that are talking about fearing God, is the word “yare”. This word implies reverence and showing God the utmost respect and honor. It’s having tremendous awe for Him, holding Him in high esteem, and obeying His Word.
Fearing the Lord means walking in humility and reverence toward God. To fear the Lord means to honor Him above everything else.
When you understand how incredible and powerful God truly is, there is a holy fear, or incredible respect that accompanies that knowledge.
Biblical fear of the Lord has its roots in love for Him.
How to Walk in the Fear of the Lord
It is important to know how to practically do what the Bible tells us. In this case, how to fear the Lord.
If we don’t know how to do something the Bible teaches us, we won’t apply it to our lives and the result is that we will become a hearer of the Word and not a doer of it. It is only in doing the Word that we experience the blessed life God has for us.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. James 1:22-25 NKJV
The Bible teaches us how to walk in the fear of the Lord.
My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5 NKJV
As you walk out what Proverbs 2 says, the fear of the Lord will be instilled in you.
When you honor someone, you honor what they say. You believe what they say. If you fear the Lord, you will honor and believe His word and place it first place in your life. This means that the Word of God has the final authority in your life.
To walk in the fear of the Lord, make what God says in His Word the ultimate answer for everything in your life.
…But my heart stands in awe of Your word. Psalm 119:161 NKJV
As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. Psalm 18:30 NKJV
When we walk in the fear of the Lord, we are more concerned about what He says and thinks than the people around us. We hate evil, pride and arrogance (Proverbs 8:13).
God’s approval is what matters to us when we walk in the fear of the Lord. We will even risk suffering rejection or shame if it comes because of our love for the Lord. We are not concerned with our own reputation or honor.
When we fear man more than we reverence or honor God and His Word, we do not fear the Lord.
The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25 NKJV
To walk in the fear of the Lord, stay focused on what God thinks, rather than what other people think. God’s approval means more to you than man’s approval. It’s kind of like a see-saw, with the fear of God on one end and the fear of man on the other end. The more value you place on how God sees you, the less value you place on people’s opinions. When you put more focus on what people think of you, your awareness of what God thinks gets snuffed out.
Here are some more examples of how the Bible teaches us to walk in the fear of the Lord:
- hating evil (Proverbs 8:13)
- preserving life (Exodus 2:17)
- trusting the Lord (Psalms 31:19)
- obeying authority (Romans 13:1-2)
- honoring parents (Ephesians 6:1)
- hating pride (Proverbs 8:13)
- keeping your tongue from evil (Psalms 34:11-13)
- obeying the Lord’s Word (Deuteronomy 6:1-2)
- not speaking deceit (Psalms 34:11-13)
- walking in the Lord’s ways (Deuteronomy 8:6, Psalm 128:1)
- loving and serving God (Deuteronomy 10:12)
- rising before the gray headed and honoring the presence of the elderly (Leviticus 19:32),
- giving to the Lord (Deuteronomy 14:23)
- submitting to others (Ephesians 5:21)
- delighting in the Word (Psalm 112:1)
Jesus Walked in the Fear of the Lord
We can see that Jesus walked in the fear of the Lord. He wasn’t terrified of Him in a way that caused Him to withdraw from God, but He honored, revered, trusted, loved, and submitted to His Father.
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. His delight is in the fear of the Lord, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; Isaiah 11:1-3 NKJV
Jesus found delight in fearing the Lord! It brought Him joy to be in constant connection with His Father, honoring Him and reverencing Him at all times. The Bible says that those who fear the Lord will be happy! (Psalm 128:2)
Remember how Jesus was always saying that He only did what He saw His Father do and speak what He heard the Father speak? This is an example of how He walked in the fear of the Lord. He was solely concerned with what His Father thought at any moment. His eyes were focused in reverence on the Father alone.
The early New Testament church also walked in the fear of the Lord, and it brought about increase.
Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified.And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied. Acts 9:31 NKJV
The fear of the Lord is a positive thing that brings benefits with it. The Bible says it is clean and endures forever (Psalm 19:9). Let’s look at 7 incredible benefits of walking in the fear of the Lord.
7 Benefits of Walking in the Fear of the Lord:
1. Fear of the Lord Brings No Want
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. Psalm 34:9 NKJV
Can you imagine a life with no want? This is exactly what the Bible says you can have when you walk in the fear the Lord.
The fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil. Proverbs 19:23 NKJV
2. Fear of the Lord Brings Protection and Deliverance
The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. Psalm 34:7 NKJV
Those who fear the Lord will walk in divine protection and deliverance. The Lord will save them in times of trouble.
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. Psalm 145:19 NKJV
Even in times of famine, the Lord promises to protect those who fear Him.
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Psalms 33:18-19 NKJV
God promises to hide those who fear Him from the evil plans of man.
You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man;
You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. Psalm 31:20 NKJV
For more about the Lords’ protection, read: Does God Protect Me From Disease?
Reverencing the Lord is how we stay away from evil.
…evil is avoided by reverence for God. Proverbs 16:6 TLB
3. Fear of the Lord Brings Freedom
The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25 NKJV
When you walk in the fear of the Lord, it brings with it a freedom from people’s opinions and rejections. You stop fearing what people may think of you. The Bible says that this kind of fear of what others think brings a snare, or a trap. It puts you in bondage. You were never designed to live this way.
So much worry and anxiety is caused by the fear of man, by constantly being concerned with what people might think of you. The fear of man will bring freedom from this torment because you are no longer focused on getting people’s approval. All the approval and acceptance you need comes from God, and you are safe in His love.
When you are truly free from the need for people’s approval, you are free to love them. You don’t need anything from them, so you are free to give, free to inspire, and free to serve them.
When you fear God, you don’t fear anything else. Compared to God, there is nothing in existence powerful enough to harm you.
The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 NKJV
When you honor the Lord and receive His words, He can begin to show you who you were created to be and the life you were designed to live- a life of complete freedom and blessing!
Reverence for the Lord is a fountain of life; its waters keep a man from death. Proverbs 14:27 TLB
4. Fear of the Lord Brings Wisdom
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 9:10 NKJV
And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.’ Job 28:28 NKJV
With wisdom comes revelation of the Word of God.
Everything you could possibly need in this life comes through knowing God, and through revelation of the promises of God. When you walk in the fear of the Lord, wisdom and revelation come.
The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant. Psalm 25:14 NKJV
5. Fear of the Lord Brings Riches, Honor, and Life
Wealth and riches will be in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Psalm 112:3
By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life. Proverbs 22:4
If you have been taught that Christians shouldn’t be rich, it’s important to know that the Bible doesn’t support that opinion. In fact, the Bible says that a man who fears the Lord will be made rich.
The covenant of the Lord includes provision and financial blessing. Reverencing the Lord will bring honor to your life.
Humility and reverence for the Lord will make you both wise and honored. Proverbs 15:33
He has given food to those who fear Him; He will ever be mindful of His covenant. Psalm 111:5 NKJV
6. Fear of the Lord Brings Blessing, Happiness, and Fruitfulness
He will bless those who fear the Lord, both small and great. Psalm 115:13 NKJV
Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands,you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, Your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord. Psalm 128:1-4 NKJV
What incredible promises are given in Psalm 128 to the person who fears the Lord. It even goes on to say that you will see your children’s children!
God’s goodness is laid up for those who fear Him.
Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men! Psalms 31:19 NKJV
7. Fear of the Lord Brings Health and Strength
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones. Proverbs 3:7-8 NKJV
Health and strength are things the entire world is seeking after. This verse says that fearing the Lord will bring health to your flesh and strength to your bones!
But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves. Malachi 4:2 NKJV
Walking in the fear of the Lord will also prolong your days, another thing that the world is seeking after.
The fear of the Lord prolongs days, but the years of the wicked will be shortened. Proverbs 10:27 NKJV
The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death. Proverbs 14:27 NKJV
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the incredible benefits that come with walking in the fear of the Lord. The promises secured for those who fear the Lord are vast. I encourage you to study this subject out for yourself!