Fear Factor

So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.”—Acts 5:11 (NKJV)

Fear isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, fear can be fruitful, provided we fear the right thing. With God’s Word as our guide, we find the only proper thing to fear is God, Himself.

Before we get the wrong idea, when we use the word fear, we aren’t talking about the feeling that paralyzes and demoralizes us. That’s not the type of response we’re to have towards God. Instead, the form of fear the Lord wants us to have is a reverential respect for how incredibly awesome He is. When we, in our smallness, perceive God, in His greatness, it produces something incredibly healthy for us.

We see this as the Church began to grow in the Book of Acts. As their numbers increased, certain things began to slip in—we saw attitudes and motives that weren’t healthy. People started to see God’s Church as something they could manipulate and misuse. One example is a couple named Ananias and Sapphira. With hearts filled with hypocrisy, they pretended to give to the Church and then lied about it. God supernaturally struck them both down, and the effect was instantaneous as “great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.”

Now, this is obviously an extreme exception to how God operates. But as you read the rest of Acts, you see the effect was actually a healthy one. It restored respect and reverence for what God was doing through His Church and refined what threatened to bring it down.

That’s what the fear of the Lord does; it leads us to a more fruitful spiritual place by purifying our attitudes and motives. When left to ourselves, it’s second nature for us to go sideways. But when we get a glimpse of God in all His glory, it puts us on our knees before His greatness, which is the best place for us to be. Ultimately, the fear of the Lord is a relationship builder, not a relationship breaker.

This even happens with the pagan sailors on Jonah’s ill-fated journey. Witnessing God’s greatness produced a healthy fear that led to sacrifice, and presumably relationship: “The men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows” (Jonah 1:16 NKJV).

May God’s greatness have the same effect on our own lives; may we fear Him in a manner that deepens our awe of Him as well as our relationship with Him.

DIG: What kind of fear should we have?

DISCOVER: What effect does godly fear have in your life? Do you need a dose of it?

DISPLAY: Solomon said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”(Proverbs 9:10 ESV). Today, spend time reflecting on all the reasons to fear the Lord. Think about who He is in the grand scheme of things, think about who He is in your life, think about what He has done, think about His attributes and qualities. Spend time thinking deeply about God (As a believer this should reignite that awesome fear of the Lord in you!)

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.