What is the accurate understanding of the “fear of the Lord”?
The “fear of the Lord” in the new covenant of grace is about honoring, worshipping, and reverencing God as God in our lives. “Fear” here does not refer to being terrified or afraid of and feeling threatened by God. Just ask yourself, which understanding of God resonates in your spirit? A loving Jesus who gave up everything for you, or an angry God looking for every opportunity to judge, condemn, and punish you? The Holy Spirit in you will point you to a God of love, while the devil will pretend to manifest the King’s wrath and find every opportunity to roar at you.
Today, the only fear God wants you to have is a wholesome fear of the Lord, which Jesus Himself defines as the worship of God.
When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he said, “All these things [all the kingdoms of the world and their glory] I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Jesus, quoting from the book of Deuteronomy, replied, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the L ORD your God, and Him only you shall serve’ ” (Matt. 4:9–10).
Now, if you do a quick check on what Jesus quoted in the book of Deuteronomy, it actually says, “You shall fear the LORD your God . . .” (Deut. 6:13). So Jesus defined the “fear” of God as the “worship” of God. In other words, the only “fear” that you should have in your life is the worship of God. Worship Him and all your fears will fade away in the light of His glory and grace.
Joseph Prince, The Power of Right Believing—7 Keys to Freedom from Fear, Guilt, and Addiction (New York: FaithWords, 2013), 191, 243.