“We fear men so much, because we fear God so little. One fear cures another. When man’s terror scares you, turn your thoughts to the wrath of God.” — William Gurnall
William Gurnall was the 17th century author who wrote The Christian in Complete Armour, a pragmatic commentary of sorts based on the apostle Paul’s sixth chapter of Ephesians. The book was loved by men such as Richard Baxter, John Flavel, and Charles Spurgeon. In fact, Spurgeon said, “peerless and priceless; every line full of wisdom. The book has been preached over scores of times and is, in our judgment, the best thought-breeder in all our library.” John Newton, the infamous Anglican Priest, former slave-ship captain, and author of Amazing Grace said that if had to choose one other book besides the Bible, Gurnall’s The Christian in Complete Armour would have been his choice.
In light of Ps. 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10; 15:33; Isa. 11:2; 33:6; and Mic. 6:9, what do you think about the concept of “fearing” God? Can you relate to the awe and splendor of a Holy God that causes you to tremble or is it difficult to relate in this way to a God who is love (1 John 4:8, 16)?
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.
I don’t think that very many of us “fear” God in the way we should. As I don’t believe any of us are as serious as we should be about God in general (talking to myself, too, folks!) Our generation and the current generation have lost the “fear” of a lot of authority in the world- hardly anyone respects their fathers, policemen, Presidents, and other authorities anymore – and I think it definitely reflects on how we view God as well.
Believe me, I am not one of those people who think that God is ready to strike you with a lightning bolt every little thing you do wrong. But, we certainly don’t need to think He’s some kind of polite waiter/servant just hanging back in the shadows ready to grant our wishes and overlook our sins, either.
This is the God of the Universe, the God of Creation, the King of All, we are talking about here. I don’t think we as Christians in general give Him enough praise, enough credit, or have a concept of how much we should “fear” and respect Him.
Wow, I feel very inadequate right now. 🙁 I hope I will change my ways.
As far as relating, yes, I can relate to having a fear of God and still knowing that He loves me. It is an easy concept (to me), however, acting like it is a different story. Growing up in a household where fear and love were not imbodied in the same person, it is difficult for me to be both “parent/authority” and “friend” to my own son. My mother was more my “friend” and my father was “The Authority.” There wasn’t really a crossover.
I have a great deal of respect for God’s power and ability to control my life. As it comes to “fear”…I pretty much only fear what He would do if/when I fail to obey Him. However, I know He loves me and is not cruel…so it’s hard for me to know when I “ought” to fear Him and when I shouldn’t. I’ve often wondered if the Bible word for “fear” literally means to be afraid, or if it is more along the lines of respecting…or if it depends on whether you are a Christian or not.