Walking in the Fear of the Lord – Part 1

What does God require to walk in the Fear of the Lord?

Part 1 of this Series – What is the Fear of the Lord? – Part 1
Part 2 of this Series – What is the Fear of the Lord? – Part 2
Part 3 of this Series – Walking in the Fear of the Lord – Part 1
Part 4 of this Series – Walking in the Fear of the Lord – Part 2
Part 5 of this Series – Build According to the Pattern
Part 6 of this Series – Avoiding Satan’s Will for the Church
Part 7 of this Series – Revival

Before we get started, I would like to recommend a short prayer to you.  We should always confess our need for God to give us wisdom, understanding, knowledge and revelation in knowing the Lord Jesus Christ better through the leading of the Holy Spirit.

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, you are awesome in all of your ways.  Please give me the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in knowing the Lord Jesus Christ more and more as I read this article.

Before we begin our journey into God’s requirements for walking in the Fear of the Lord, I would like to share what I mean when I use the word walk.  By walk, I do not mean to convey that the Fear of the Lord is a place of arrival or a destination.  I also, do not mean to convey that it’s possible to get there using natural human effort (your legs, something you do or stop doing), because this is impossible.  However, walking in the Fear of the Lord will cause you to depart from doing anything in your own strength or human effort.  Finally, the Fear of the Lord is a spiritual technology of Christ’s Kingdom which cannot be attained by natural means.  This is one of the reasons we don’t hear too much about it.  It can only become a reality in the life of a believer through the inner workings of the Holy Spirit of God.

What I do mean to convey in the word walk, is the fact that that the Fear of the Lord is a spiritual life style choice that you can choose to keep close to you or step out of.  One of the things I love most about God is that He loves us so much that He never dominates or forces us to do anything.  He lovingly commands us not to make choices that will eventually bring eternal harm to us, but He never makes us obey Him.  Walking in the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of the believer understanding exactly why God commands us to make choices that lead to eternal life as opposed to death.

We must make a choice

Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord
Prov 1:29 (NIV)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Prov 9:10 (KJV)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline
Prov 1:7 (NIV)

I’ll write about the scenario in which Wisdom made the statement above, and the consequences that followed in a different article.  Keeping with the topic of this article, I would like to draw you’re attention to this astonishing statement.  Wisdom, personified, is the person speaking, and she’s addressing three types of people.  The simple person, the scorner or mocker and the fool.  Notice that none of the three types of people made the correct choice.  In Part 1 & 2 of this Series, we saw quite a few examples of people who made the correct choice related to walking in the Fear of the Lord, so it is entirely possible, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, for you to make the correct choice as well.  Walking in the Fear of the Lord starts simply by you choosing to do so.

We must remain teachable

What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose
Psalms 25:12 (KJV)

Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord
Psalms 34:11 (NIV)

It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.
John 6:45 (NIV)

I want to make note of the fact that I did not just say we must be teachable.  I specifically chose the phrase remain teachable because as long as you and I are on this earth, we will always need to be taught by God, encouraged and directed by the Lord Jesus Christ and empowered and led by the Holy Spirit.  If you ever reach a point where you believe you don’t need to learn anymore, or your hunger for learning has diminished, I encourage you to ask God to wake-up the student in you.

While it’s true that David wrote most of the Psalms, God Himself is the person speaking in Psalms 34:11.  Let’s recall what Wisdom said to the simple person, the scorner or mocker and the fool; “they hated knowledge and did not choose the Fear of the Lord“.

The passages of scripture above reveal to us that there is a type of lesson that God Himself wants to teach us.  The Lord Jesus confirms this is the New Testament.  It takes a really special type of person to reject being taught directly by the God of the universe.  However, no matter how foolish or unbelievable that sounds, it’s true and Wisdom testifies to the truth that there are people who will reject being taught by God directly.

I would never presume to know the method God will use to teach you or me.  I would, however, encourage you to be on the look out in every place if you want to be taught by God.  Whatever method he chooses shouldn’t surprise you because He used a mule to speak to a prophet and a rooster to remind Peter of his own words.  Rest assured, God is more than able to communicate clearly and concisely with you and I whenever He chooses in whatever manner He deems appropriate for us individually.  If we don’t hear Him speaking and teaching, it’s a hearing issue on our part and not a speaking issue on God’s part (see Matthew 13:14-15).

We must welcome and receive correction

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke,  because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in
Prov 3:11-12 (NIV)

Now, let’s take a look at what type of people will have a rough time, according to the Word of God, walking in the Fear of the Lord.  The passage above reveals to us how we should respond when correction comes our way.  By the way, the correction I’m referring to doesn’t only come from God alone.  The New Testament is full of biblical evidence that God corrects His people directly and He uses men and women to bring correction to our lives.  I have found that God will use whatever person, place or thing needed to bring correction to me, if I’m open to receive it.  No matter where it comes from, it’s always an opportunity to grow and become more Christ like in our everyday walk with Jesus.

Before we proceed, I want to make mention of the fact that the three character types presented here doesn’t necessarily mean the person is this way in every area of life.  It’s possible to be mature in one area and a simpleton in another area of life.  However, God wants His people mature, lacking nothing, in every area of life.  As you can imagine, this takes some time to accomplish, which is why we must always remain teachable.

The Simple Person

How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?
Prov 1:22a (NIV)

For the waywardness of the simple will kill them
Prov 1:32a (NIV)

A simple man believes anything
Prov 14:15a (NIV)

The simple inherit folly
Prov 14:18 (NIV)

Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware
Prov 19:25 (KJV)

According to the Word of God, a simple person is one who continually makes bad choices over and over and over and over again due to the plain fact that they simply (no pun intended) do not have the wisdom, understanding and knowledge necessary to make better choices.

What sets the simple person apart from the others is their love of being void of these essential choice making tools.  I draw your attention to the fact that Wisdom, who knows all of us extremely well, says something startling with regard to simple people, “they love remaining simple or without wisdom, understanding and knowledge”.  As a result of loving the state of being void of understanding, the simple are prone to perpetually wander, in part, due to a lack of wisdom and discernment.  The word waywardness is used to paint the picture of a sheep that simply keeps wandering into a dangerous area of pasture, no matter how many times the shepherd pulls him away.  Finally the Word of God reveals to us that the simple person proceeds with caution after witnessing the punishment of the scorner.  However, due to their tendency to wander, the yellow light will turn to green if the simple person doesn’t begin to hate simplicity and love correction.

The Scorner or Mocker

and the scorners delight in their scorning
Prov 1:22b (KJV)

A mocker resents correction; he will not consult the wise
Prov 15:12 (NIV)

Fools make a mock at sin
Prov 14:9a (KJV)

The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none
Prov 14:6a (NIV)

He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame
Prov 9:7a (KJV)

Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you
Prov 9:8a (NIV)

but a mocker does not listen to rebuke
Prov 13:1b (NIV)

Penalties are prepared for mockers
Prov 19:29 (NIV)

Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease
Prov 22:10 (KJV)

According to the Word of God, a scorner or mocker (I’ll use mocker going forward) is anyone who openly and proudly makes light of doing evil.  By evil I mean doing anything contrary to God’s ways.  Now, before the condemnation of the enemy begins to harass you, don’t stop reading here.  Falling into sin IS NOT what makes a person a mocker, because the shed blood of Jesus Christ has paid the total sum price for the sin of all mankind.   Of course, this provision is contingent upon us accepting and believing in the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.  However, a callous, hard hearted and stiff-necked attitude, after you’re made aware that what you’re doing is sin, IS what promotes a person from a sinner into a mocker.  At this point let’s be mindful of the grace provided to us by God the Father through the shed blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (sinners) (see Romans 5:8).

Finally, to put the failed accusations of Satan to rest, I was a full-time mocker prior to my salvation experience.  By full-time, I mean I think I qualified for a PhD in making light of my sinful actions.  Even after my life was hid in Christ, there were and still are things I should hate simply because God hates them, but I don’t, at least not at this point in my walk with the Lord.  This is one of the reasons I write this blog.  We as children of God and joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ must feel free to come to the Father openly, honestly and without reservation with the areas of weakness in our lives, because Jesus paid it all to secure this access for us.

Now let’s turn our attention back to the passages of scripture that gives us a microscopic view into the mind, heart and life style of a mocker.  First and foremost, Wisdom identifies the root cause of why scorners have trouble receiving correction, they find pleasure in making light of the wrong they’re committing.  It’s extremely hard to convince a person that is having a great time, with no inner witness of something being wrong, that he or she needs to turn away from the activity.  There’s no motivation to do so when the person likes what they’re doing.  The attitude of having delight when we do things we know are wrong is empirical evidence that a person is not walking in the Fear of the Lord.

Now, just in case you have spent some time frustrating yourself in an attempt to change someone that demonstrates this characteristic, let me encourage you.  God knows every mocker on the planet, in addition, neither God nor the Lord Jesus is intimidated by their mocking.  I encourage you to leave that person in the hands of the Lord and you focus on cultivating the Fear of the Lord in your own life.

I don’t feel the need to share anything more about the mocker at this point, because the Word of God does a masterful job at identifying the characteristics of a mocker.

The Fool or Foolish Person

fools hate knowledge
Prov 1:22 (KJV)

but fools despise wisdom and instruction
Prov 1:7b (KJV)

The way of a fool seems right to him
Prov 12:15 (NIV)

fools detest turning from evil
Prov 13:19 (NIV)

the complacency of fools will destroy them
Prov 1:32 (NIV)

He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool
Prov 10:18 (NIV)

fools die for lack of judgment
Prov 10:21 (NIV)

A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct
Prov 10:23 (NIV)

A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions
Prov 18:2 (NIV)

As far as the Word of God is concerned, I could go on an on listing passages of scripture that identify the character traits of fools or foolish people.  A few things should be abundantly clear at this point.  First, if you’re in relationship with, married to or friends with a fool, l pray that the Lord Jesus Christ blankets you with the Fear of the Lord.  If He doesn’t, you are in for one hell of a ride, and I did say “hell” of a ride.  The relationship that includes this type of person is one that’s filled with disappointment, heart ache, condemnation, guilt and a myriad of other destructive things.  Why?  Simply because, as we see above, the fool or foolish person has absolutely no intention of changing anything because they sincerely believe they are right and the only desire they have is to get you to see things their way, no matter how destructive their ways are.

So, is there hope for these types of relationships?  I’m glad you asked, yes there is.  The hope that you need to cling to is the truth that we can do all things THROUGH CHRIST who strengthens us.  This means, unless there is some form of abuse, to which the law of the land needs to address and immediate separation needs to occur, the Lord Jesus Christ wants to strengthen you, while walking in the Fear of the Lord, so that the foolish behaviors of others no longer causes you to act out of character.  Your focus must be the Lord Jesus Christ, in all things, and not the fool or foolish person.

Now, assuming you aren’t one of the three people mentioned above, and I feel confident you aren’t because neither of the three character types likes to receive correction or instruction.  Which means they probably won’t be reading this blog unless God is seriously dealing with them.  I recommend you take a moment and read through this post a second or third time.

Finally, I would like to share a thought that may help the anxiety that sometimes accompanies the prospect of being corrected by God the Father, The Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit or another person.

Nobody likes to be told their doing something wrong.  However, I present you with this question, if no one presents our mistakes to us, how will we ever mature past making that mistake?  In addition, if we cultivate an atmosphere around us where others feel unsafe making us aware of our mistakes, are we sabotaging our own growth and ultimately delaying the glorious destiny God has planned for our lives before the foundation of the world?

Take a moment and read the following passage of scripture carefully.  In it, you’ll find that our Father in heaven is a loving God.  I personally can testify to the fact that when He brings correction to areas of our lives, either through other people on the earth or whatever method He chooses, it is never to condemn or judge us, but to create a stronger union between us and Jesus.  This is what I love about God, when He corrects us, it doesn’t feel good initially, but when you learn to love His correction, not matter what form or from whom it comes, it guarantees a sure path to walking in the Fear of the Lord.

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in
Prov 3:11-12 (NIV)

In my next post I’ll present the remaining requirements for walking in the Fear of the Lord.  As usual, I recommend a small prayer to you.

Father in Heaven, I know that you love me because your Word says you demonstrated that love by sending your only son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die for my sins.  Father, in the name of Jesus, I acknowledge your awesome power, your everlasting mercy, the grace you have extended to me and your loving kindness which you continue to demonstrate.  Father help me, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to walk in the Fear of the Lord and to properly receive correction in whatever manner it comes.  Father, give me your wisdom, understanding and knowledge so I can obey every commandment The Lord Jesus Christ gives me and so I can depart from every evil way that’s contrary to your ways.