The Bible makes it clear that there is a fear of the Lord that every believer is to cultivate. True fear of God includes awe and respect, but it goes much further than that. David tells us, “The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes” (Psalm 36:1). David is saying, “When I see somebody indulging in evil, my heart tells me that such a person has no fear of God. He doesn’t acknowledge the truth about sin, or about God’s call to holiness.”
The fact is, godly fear gives us power to maintain victory in wicked times. So, how do we obtain this fear? Jeremiah answers with this prophecy from God’s Word: “I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me” (Jeremiah 32:39-40).
This is a wonderful promise from the Lord. It assures us he will provide us with his holy fear. God doesn’t just drop this fear into our hearts in a supernatural flash. No, he puts his fear in us through his Word.
Does that mean God’s fear is planted in our hearts when we merely read the Bible? No, not at all. It comes when we consciously decide that we are going to obey every word we read in God’s Word. Scripture bears this out. It tells us this is how godly fear came upon Ezra: “Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it” (Ezra 7:10).
The fear of God isn’t just an Old Testament concept. We see godly fear mentioned in both Testaments. The Old tells us, “Fear the Lord, and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:7). Likewise, the New declares, “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18). Paul adds, “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).