The phrase, “The fear of the Lord,” was one I never liked.
By Alex Anderson, Senior Associate Pastor at Bayside Community Church
Before I was a Christ-follower I thought, “Who would want to be a Christian and serve a god you would have to be afraid of?”
By that time (in my middle teens) I had way too many fears so why would I want to add God to my list? Besides, it seemed to me that those God-fearing people that I was aware of had no fun and they were a somber, sad looking bunch.
They were in church all the time and lived under so many rules that their kids were leaving home to try and find a life with some fun and excitement.
But I did finally come across a few Christ-followers that had smiles on their faces and seem to love and enjoy each other. These were the ones that over time I slowly became friends with and eventually went to their church.
To be honest at first…I didn’t like it. But it wasn’t because anyone was mean spirited…but because it wasn’t like home.
Let me explain…home for me was full of intense negative emotions and not a fun place to be most of the time as a teenager. So any place that was fun or safe was different.
The church was different in a good way. And it took me a while to get used to all the smiling faces and happy people I met…but I really liked it and I wanted this world to be my home. Eventually my new friends came to my home and my family became Christ-followers and my home did become a happy place.
But this “Fear of the Lord” idea didn’t sit well with me after I became a Christ-follower either. Before I was a Christ-follower, as I mentioned earlier… “Who would want to be a Christian and serve a god you would have to be afraid of?”
However now as a Christ-follower, I had fallen in love with God. I now knew Him to be the most benevolent and kind being in the Universe. After praying and accepting His Son Jesus’ death as a payment to redeem me for my fallen and hopeless state and now to feel (even 40 years later) His tender and accepting love in my heart…well it changed me. I have never been able to explain exactly what happened, but I knew when it happened as all other Christ-followers do.
Now that I loved God why would I fear Him? It didn’t make sense until I understood what the phrase would come to mean to me personally.
Decades ago I work for a national brand restaurant company. I was a project manager traveling from city to city oversee the purchasing of land and construction management. I was quite successful at such a young age.
My wife and I also wanted children and so it was time.
So there I was, I had a great career a beautiful wife, a great church and having kids. I had it all until…I got the call.
Shifts and changes in the market had caused my job to change in such a way that I could no longer have it all. Tough decisions had to be made that changed everything.
One of the most important aspects of our life was our church. We loved our church and only a word from God to move could change that. So I decided to no longer work for the restaurant company and seek local work.
Without realizing it…I was honoring God first. It was a lesson I had learn years earlier about tithing. If I honored God by giving the first ten percent of my income, He was responsible to always take care of my family. God has promises in the Bible about many aspects of our lives and relationship with Him.
So we stayed at our church and within three to four months I got a local job working with some really great people. Was that just plain luck because I was a nice guy?
I don’t believe that for moment.
As I mentioned, the Bible is filled with promises for those who love and honor God with their whole life, but here are a few I’d like to leave with you from Psalms 128 (new living translation).
Blessed are all who fear the Lord.
Blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house.
Your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
May you live to see your children’s children.
It’s one thing to love God with your mind and emotions…but “it gets real,” when we honor God with our money and life’s major decisions.
To your spiritual health,
Alex E. Anderson
Senior Associate Pastor at
Bayside Community Church
Author, Dangerous Prayers