therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.             [2 corinthians 5:11a]


william barclay notes that phobos “is not the fear and trembling of the slave cringing before his master; nor fear and trembling at the prospect of punishment. it comes from two things. it comes, first, from a sense of our own creatureliness and our own powerlessness to deal with life triumphantly. that is to say, it is not the fear and trembling which drives us to hide from God, but rather the fear and trembling which drives us to seek God, in the certainty that without His help we cannot effectively face life. it comes, second, from a horror of grieving God. when we really love a person (God), we are not afraid of what He may do to us; we are afraid of what we may do to Him!”

fearing the Lord takes a practice, takes intention. fear here is not a negative emotion, rather it is the reverence and awe toward God. it is the spiritual disciplines that we need to cultivate this fear and trembling before the God who is worthy. first, only in knowing who he is can we grasp at the awe and reverence which he is due. diving into his word that was written by him to reveal himself to us. the knowledge of the Lord is the beginning, only in daily seeking his word can we learn how we are to fear him. second, this fear comes from learning of ourselves truly and honestly. such fear involves self-distrust, a sensitive conscience, and being on guard against temptation.

in both of these pieces, knowledge of God and knowledge of self, we can begin to grasp the fullness of Christ and see more greatly how desperately we are in need of him. the larger the cross becomes the more we see the need for others to know the truth that we behold.

today draw into the presence of the Lord and ask for this beautiful understanding. ask for fear of the Lord. oh believer this is his heart that you may know him.


pray: Lord please bring to me a true fear of you. a fear that drives me to my knees. an understanding that draws me to my feet to proclaim boldly your name. Lord show me who you are.


~ holly russell