The Fear of the Lord


Dr. Charles Stanley

ExostlanleyRead | Proverbs 8:13

People are frequently confused by talk that has to do with fearing God. Scripture admonishes us to fear the Lord (2 Tim. 1:7), but at the same time, we are told that God has not given us a spirit of fear. So how are we to understand this phrase?

Fearing God does not mean always looking over your shoulder in anxiety to see what He will do next. The fear of the Lord is something positive and healthy that is clearly defined in several different scriptures. A particularly helpful one is today’s verse, where we are told, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.”

Many people are bothered by the thought of hating anything. Yet God says we are to hate evil because He Himself hates it in all of its forms for a simple reason—namely, the Lord sees the corrupting, destructive influence that wickedness has on us. We often fail to see any corruption at all. In fact, we sometimes look at evil and think that it’s not really too bad.

Satan’s job is to camouflage iniquity until it appears quite innocent or even attractive. In fact, the Enemy is so successful in his deception that we often fall into his snares without any compunction. That is why we must learn to view things as the Lord sees them. We need to develop such a holy hatred for evil that we shun and refuse it at every turn. When we get the Lord’s view of transgression, the Devil will be stymied in his efforts to seduce us. Although it may not be a popular stance, we can choose to love the Lord and to hate evil.