January 7 was our first meeting of 2016! We switched things up a little bit and played a game before the lesson. We played the attentiveness game and talked about how we pay attention to something important. Understanding the fear of the Lord is very important! A proper view of God is essential as we seek to honor Him.
Why do we fear something? We fear something either because we see it as dangerous or important—God is both. As Christians, we don’t need to fear the danger of God (Christ took care of that for us), but rather should fear that we will not please Him. In this sense, fear refers to respect or reverence. A fear of the Lord comes from a deep love and respect for Him, as well as an understanding of the consequences of disobeying Him. Fearing the Lord is knowing and taking seriously the fact that we will one day stand before our holy and just Creator and give account to Him. (2 Cor. 5:9-10)
What is the opposite of the fear of the Lord? The fear of man. Fear of what people think of us can be a huge, and often invisible, obstacle in our lives. Fear of man brings insecurity, but “the fear of the Lord is strong confidence.” (Prov. 14:26); we can not be secure if we feel threatened by what others might think of us.
“The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25 (NKJV)
Everyone has a desire for approval. God has given us this desire so that we will turn to Him to fulfill it. Our desire should be to serve the Lord and receive our approval from Him. If our focus is on eternity, than we will realize the importance of pleasing God rather than men. The best way to overcome the fear of man is to learn to “be in the fear of the Lord all the day long.” (Prov. 23:17)
We took a quick look at the contrasting lives of Saul and David. Saul tried to serve God, but was hindered by his fear of man (1 Sam. 10:22, 15:24, 17:12, 18:7-8; 12). On the other hand, David spent much time with the Lord and lived in a way pleasing to God, who called him a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22, 1 Sam.17:26; 24:6, 12; 32-33; 45-47, 2 Sam. 6:17).
The Lord sees our every thought, attitude, and action. Are we more concerned with what the Lord sees when He looks at our lives, or are we more focused on receiving approval from men? One day we will stand before God and give account to Him. If we truly fear the Lord we will respect Him, take Him seriously, and give Him the most important place in our lives.
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.” Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NKJV)
For our activity, we did skits on the fear of the Lord vs. the fear of man.