The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.
~ Proverbs 15:33
The New Testament, like the Old, exhorts us to live in the fear of God (see Matt. 10:28; Acts 10:35; 2 Cor. 5:10-11; 7:1; Eph. 5:21; Col. 3:22; 1 Pet. 1:17). Yet the Apostle John tells us that “God is love,” and that “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love” (1 John 4:8,18). “See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are” (1 John 3:1).
When we placed our trust in Christ, God gave us the right to become members of His family (John 1:12). Now nothing can separate us from our loving Father because we are His children (Rom. 8:38-39). As believers in Christ, we need not be afraid of God. The fear of God, then, does not mean that we are to be terrified of Him. Instead, it refers to a particular attitude that we should develop.
Part of this attitude is a reverence and an awe of God. We should daily remind ourselves of who He really is: the Creator of the hundreds of billions of galaxies; the sovereign God who inhabits the future as well as the present and the past; the almighty One who dwells in all places, and from whom no thought is hidden; clothed in power, glory, and dominion, He reigns over the cosmos in the beauty of holiness.
Another part of this attitude is humility before our King. “The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor” (Prov. 15:33). The walk of wisdom is the conscious recognition that all we have and are come from God, and that every aspect of our lives needs to be under His dominion. The fool arrogantly vaunts an attitude of independence and autonomy, but the person who is wise lives in dependence and radical trust in the Author and Giver of life. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). We will grow in wisdom as we daily cultivate the attitude of awe and humility in our walk with God.
“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of
you but to do justice, to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?”
Lord, let me always place humility before honor, out of respect and love for You. Amen.
~ Ken Boa
Dr. Boa is devoted to a ministry of relational evangelism and discipleship, teaching, writing, and speaking. He holds a B.S. in astronomy from Case Institute of Technology, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, a Ph.D. from New York University, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in England. Visit his website at KenBoa.org.