“This fear is a gracious habit or principle planted by God in the soul, whereby the soul is kept under an holy awe of the eye of God, and from thence is inclined to perform and do what pleaseth him, and to shun and avoid whatsoever he forbids and hates.”
John Flavel – puritan Pastor who lived from 1628-1691 who died in jail, imprisoned for his faith.
In Romans 3:18 Paul quotes Psalm 36:1 saying “There is no fear of God before his eyes.” We live in a generation that takes the things of God for granted and has no fear of God anywhere to be found. Obviously, the lost people have no knowledge of God and cannot respect the Lord. However, the church is in a different situation all together. The fear of God is also absent from our congregations today. I think often about the sorry spiritual condition the supposed Body of Christ is in and I have come to some conclusions. Apparently, we have been willed to sleep with a message about the blessings of God in this life and we have lost our moorings. Christianity is about more than careers, houses, ministries and everything else than has been the focus of “church” for too long. The normal message is about success, vision, purpose, church growth, marriage and other topics that pertain to this life. Where is the preaching about Christ and His Kingdom. I thought Jesus taught His kingdom is not of this world.
As we reflect on the words of John Flavel, we are reminded of the difference of the church in 1600 to the church of 2000. Flavel said that the fear of God is planted supernaturally in our soul. Natural man is afraid of a lot of things, but the fear of God is nowhere to be found. As we call upon the Lord, and hunger after Him our heart is filled with the fear and majesty of Almighty God.
Flavel also said that the fear of God causes an inclination in us to do the things that are pleasing to God. In Hebrews 11:7 the Bible says that Noah was moved with fear to prepare an ark. Noah was inclined to obey the Lord because of a Godly fear that came upon Him. This fear produces not only obedience but like David said a delight. “I delight to do your will oh God.” Psalm 40:8
Finally, Flavel said that this fear causes us to avoid behavior that is displeasing to the Lord. Job was described as one who feared God and turned away from evil. When we come to Christ, and experience the reality of God in our souls, we have this tendency to flee from evil. Our heart is changed, we are not attracted to the disgusting practices of the world, and we are strangely attracted to Christ.
David spoke of this strange joy in Psalm 2:11. He said serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. When the incredible, holy majesty of God comes upon us we are stricken with two things. We are overwhelmed by His attributes. We are struck by His holiness, kindness, grace, power, love, justice, sovereignty, and power. We tremble before this awesome God. Secondly, we are strangely affected by the joy of heaven. This supernatural joy fills our souls and overwhelms us. We begin to rejoice, every part of our being begins to rejoice. The joy of the Lord becomes ours, our joy is made full. If you long for happiness, it is available to you. It is available not in the pleasures of this world, but at the Father’s right hand, pleasures forevermore