Evil individuals are rebellious to the core. They do not fear God, for they are too proud. The words of their mouths are treacherous and troubling; they never consider doing good … How happy is the person who fears Yahweh, who takes great delight in obeying his commands. Psalm 36:1–3; 112:1
Fearing God will transform our lives. Fearing God changes us from foolish, self-centered, self-defeating rebels into wise, God-centered, happy daughters and sons. Fearing God isn’t as paradoxical as it might seem. Normally, when we perceive danger our heart’s response causes our brains to cue our adrenal glands to dump massive amounts of adrenaline into our systems so that we can move away from the threat as quickly as possible. Without our fear function, we would engage in very risky behavior that would most likely end in injury or death. But when it comes to fearing God, we find that fear causes us to move toward him, not away from him. Fearing God works this way because God is dangerous only if we rebel against him. The God who wholeheartedly rejoices to do good to his people is only dangerous if we reject him. Rejecting him implies that we think we would be better than he at doing good for us. Insulting him like this puts us in a very dangerous spot because he cannot righteously ignore this kind of affront to his glory. So, fearing God is the wise foundation on which we can erect an edifice of joyful love, for him and for our neighbors.
O Lord, may I regard you as so holy—so infinitely valuable—that you will become both my fear and my sanctuary. Amen.
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