When Fear is Good {No Fear Devotional}

Over the last 5 months of Tuesdays we’ve looked at the various places where God commands His people, “Do not fear”, and seen reason after reason why we as people of God have no need to be afraid. Precious promises:

God is a shield to us. He sees us. The Lord will fight for us while we stay silent. He is with us,  at our side. The Lord is our shepherd. God has called us by name, we are His. We’ve been given the spirit of adoption, not the spirit of fear. He is our Helper.

With those reasons and promises not to fear, God also gives us a call and command to fear.

Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. (Psalm 33:8)

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling… (Philippians 2:12)

If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth… (1 Peter 1:17)

The word translated fear can mean fear or terror, but also respect, reverence, piety. 

When I’m afraid of something, I give it respect. Respect: honor, reverence, consideration, regard. I’m afraid of heights, respecting the fact that being high up is dangerous, and should be handled with care. It’s the fall that’s going to kill you, so I am OK respecting heights.

When I’m afraid of rejection, or failure, or change, or the future: What am I respecting? Too often I’m respecting the lie that rejection or failure will rob me of life and goodness, that I can’t live with them. Worse still: I am respecting the lie that anything that comes into my life could leave me God-less and helpless.

What am I really afraid of? And is that where I want my highest respect, my honor and reverence and consideration to go?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom… (Proverbs 1:7)

The best picture I have for the fear of the Lord is gravity: The sun is the biggest thing in our solar system, pulling the planets into orbit around it. The earth’s great mass creates a gravitational pull that anchors everything on it and allows growth.

As I fear the Lord, His gravitational pull grows ever greater, drawing my life into orbit around His goodness, His love. His great weight in my life anchors me, drawing my roots down and allowing me to grow.

The Psalms overflow with promises for those who fear the Lord, who submit to His gravitational pull.

Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. (Psalm 25:12)

How great is Your goodness, Which You have stored up for those who fear You, Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, Before the sons of men! (Psalm 31:19)

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness… (Psalm 33:18)

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fearHim, And rescues them.      (Psalm 34:7)

O fear the Lord, you His saints; For to those who fearHim there is no want.          (Psalm 34:9)

You have given a banner to those who fear You, That it may be displayed because of the truth. (Psalm 60:4)

For You have heard my vows, O God; You have given me the inheritance of those who fear Your name. (Psalm 61:5)

Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. (Psalm 103:13)

But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children… (Psalm 103:17)

He has given food to those who fear Him; He will remember His covenant forever. (Psalm 111:5)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever. (Psalm 111:10)

He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. (Psalm 112:7)

You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield.             (Psalm 115:11)

He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them. (Psalm 145:19)

The Lord favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness.          (Psalm 147:11)

The great lie under the fall of man is that we’re better off with the world revolving around us, the things we want, the things we can do. But when the world revolves around us, and what we can do and what we want, that opens the door wide to fear.

What my flesh wants, what my eyes see, what my reputation requires, none of these things are heavy enough. They leave me in fear, flying through the universe without anything firm.

We were made for God alone, He is our center.

Our lives and communities work, our hearts are safe,  when He is the heaviest and weightiest, when He is the center around which we rotate.

Our lives and communities work, our hearts are safe, when we fear the Lord.


Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. (Psalm 33:8)

What does “the fear of the Lord” mean to you?

What would it look like, in your life, to give God more weight, more gravitational pull?


This post is the latest (and last) in the NO FEAR Devotional Series. I’ll have a wrap up (and the opportunity to download all of the devotionals in one PDF) next week, but you can read all of the previous posts in the series here.

If this devotional resonated with you, feel free to share it using one of the links below: That really helps people to find this site, which hopefully will bless them as it has blessed you!

Photo in image by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

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