What Does the “Fear of the Lord” Really Mean?

The fear of the Lord includes a spectrum of attitudes… In one sense, it does indeed mean a terror of God; for we are unclean people who will one day appear before the Almighty, who is holy and morally pure. Such fear shrinks back from God. But for people whose eyes have been opened to God’s great love, this terror-fear gradually fades the more we come to know him.

For those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ, fear of the Lord means reverent submission that leads to obedience. Yes, such reverence includes an awareness of our sinfulness and God’s holiness, but it is balanced by the knowledge of God’s great forgiveness, mercy, and love. A proper fear of the Lord will have us moving from terror, dread, and trembling, toward devotion, adoration, and enjoyment of God. This is the love 1 John 4:18 is speaking of when it says, “There is no fear [terror or dread] in love.”

When we trust in Christ, we are abel to truly love other people–not to need or fear them, worry about them, or people-please them. We are able to:

  • Love our enemies and pray for them
  • Think about the needs of our spouse before our own needs
  • Walk into a room and not worry about others’ opinions of us
  • Say no to others without fear of judgement
  • Walk into church and feel like we’re with family–with the family of God, there is no self-consciousness, embarrassment, or fear.

This excerpt is from our pamphlet Breaking The Bonds of Fear by Joni Eareckson Tada.

Breaking the Bonds of Fear Pamphlet

Is fear causing you to lose sleep, stress out, or worry? Joni Eareckson Tada sheds light on the bondage of fear in this easy-to-read pamphlet. Breaking the Bonds of Fear will help you move away from the unhealthy fear of man that many Christians live with for their entire lives. Joni explains that our aim is to decrease our sinful fear of man and increase our reverent fear of the Lord. We can develop a fear of the Lord by trusting in Him and reading the Bible.

There might be times in your life where you’re not sure if God really cares about your circumstances but looking at specific stories in the Bible will help you see God’s bigger picture. God wants you to trust in Him, and when you read this pamphlet, you will clearly see how much God cares for you.

Joni also talks about the fear that was generated from her own life and the steps that were taken to grow confidence in the Lord after the tragic accident that left her quadriplegic. Even death is not something to fear when our trust rests in the only one who conquered death! Let

Jesus be the ballast of your ship, for it is only then that you will find peace and restoration from fear.

Key Features of this Breaking the Bonds of Fear Pamphlet

  • Bible-based: Scripture-focused, this pamphlet will guide you through your journey using relevant verses
  • Practical: have practical advice and solutions to help yourself or those you serve
  • Compassionate: this pamphlet was written by an author that has wrestled and made peace with God over chronic pain
  • Easy-to-Understand: avoids complicated theology and boils down biblical principles in an easy-to-read way that you can grasp in minutes

About the Author

Joni Eareckson Tada offers hope to people struggling with health and emotional challenges. After a 1967 diving accident left her a spinal cord-injured quadriplegic, Tada embarked on a lifelong study to make sense of suffering from God’s perspective. Joni Eareckson Tada is now an international advocate for individuals with disabilities, and the founder of the non-profit organization, Joni & Friends



One Thought on “What Does the “Fear of the Lord” Really Mean?

  1. This is something I’ve thought about often! I’m so glad you addressed this question, and you explain it so well. Keep up the good work!

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