Passionate About Fear of the Lord

Being passionate about the fear of the Lord is having a deep reverence, re­spect, and awe. Moreover, we also need a healthy fear for who He is. The power of the Holy Spirit will bring life-giving blessings when respected and handled correctly. If we lack the fear of the Lord by mishandling or disrespecting His pres­ence, power, and authority over us, we will experience negative consequences.

No Condemnation

The lessons in this study of 10 Ways to be a Stronger Christian are based on a study I completed by Rick Renner Ministries.

The precious Word of God states in Romans 8:1 (MEV): There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Therefore, do not allow the Adversary to bring condemnation for areas throughout this study series where you may be weak. Ask your Heavenly Father to help you become stronger and He will!

Scriptures Referenced in this Lesson

  • 1 Corinthians 14:40
  • 2 Timothy 1:7
  • Acts 2:42-43; 4:32; 36-37; 5:1-11
  • Philippians 2:9-11

Looking at the Greek Meanings

By looking at the Greek meanings behind the translated words we gain a greater understanding of what the Early Church understood the Apostles say.

passionate about
Continued stedfastlyProskartereoto persevere consistently; intense focus and hard work; constant diligence and effort that never lets up; it can carry the idea of addiction
LiePseudomaito lie; to deceive; to willfully falsify or misrepresent facts
ConceivedTithemito set in place; to set in position; to conceive a plan
ThingPragmaan action or affair; a well-conceived deed
To GodTheoLiterally, “to God,” making it clear that the Holy Spirit is God
FearPhobosalarm; hush, amazement, or respect; usually depicts a fear that results from a threatening or alarming circumstance
Agreed togetherSumphoneoto be in harmony; it is the word from which “symphony” is derived

What Is the Fear of the Lord?

Not many people talk about the fear of the Lord. As a matter of fact, many Christians are confused about what it is. Some believers quote 2 Timothy 1:7, which states: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear…” and mistakenly claim that the fear of the Lord is not biblical. However, the fear of the Lord is biblical and, in fact, foundational to the Christian faith.

The Difference Between Fear and Respect

What is the fear of the Lord? First, consider the difference between fear and respect in the following illustrations:

  • Making Wrong Choices
    • Life has consequences. If you break the law or violate the rules, you will suffer the “side effect” or consequences.
      • Does this mean that you should be afraid of rules and laws? No. It simply means you should respect and obey them.
  • Disrespecting Your Employer
    • If you disrespect and fail to submit to your employer, there will be consequences.
      • Does this mean you should be afraid of your employer? No. It simply means you should respect and submit to his or her authority.
  • Dishonoring the Police
    • If you dishonor and disregard the authority of the police, you will likely experience negative consequences.
      • No one states, “The police love you and are only around you to bless you. You never need to fear them.” The truth is, if you break the law, the same police who are there to serve and protect you are the same police who will quickly arrest you!
        • Does this mean you should be afraid of the police? No. It simply means you should honor and respect their authority.
  • Mishandling Electricity
    • If you mishandle electricity, you will suffer the consequences. Electricity is meant to bring life and enhance your daily existence. However, what electricity produces depends on how it is handled. If you handle it correctly, it will be a blessing. If you mishandle it, it can kill you.
      • Does this mean you should be afraid of electricity? No. It simply means you should have a healthy respect for it and handle it properly.


The fear of the Lord is much the same. Consequently, if you mishandle the power and presence of God, you will suffer negative consequences. However, if you respectfully and honorably handle His power and presence, it will produce amazing blessings in your life.

Therefore, the fear of the Lord does not mean to be afraid of Him. Actually, means to have a deep reverence, respect, awe, and a healthy fear of who He is.

Proverbs 9:10 states: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

The starting point of wisdom is to fear the Lord. Moreover, your attitude toward God, His power, and the super­natural work of His Holy Spirit will determine what the Spirit produces in your life.

Early Believers Feared the Lord

First Century believers learned to have a healthy, reverential fear of the Lord very early.

Acts 2:42-43 states: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.”

This “fear” that came on every soul was a reveren­tial fear for the power of God. Moreover, they respected what He was doing among them. Consequently, where God’s power is respected, God’s Spirit brings great bene­fit to the church and to individuals.

The fear of the Lord among believers produced “many wonders and signs.” We see this not only in Acts 2 but also in Acts 4.

Fear of the Lord Brings Unity

“And the multi­tude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common”. – Acts 4:32

God had moved on their hearts, and they became very generous with each other and with Him. As they were generous with God, God was generous with them.

The cycle of generous giving to God and one another, followed by the supernatural signs and wonders of the Holy Spirit’s power, continued to build.

Acts 4:36-37 states: “And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, … a Lev­ite, and of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”

Undoubtedly, many people in the church witnessed this huge, sacrificial gift made by Barnabas. Likewise, they also witnessed how other believers cel­ebrated him. Among the onlookers was a couple named Ananias and his wife Sapphira.

When You Lack a Fear of the Lord

Apparently, after observing the appreciation expressed to Barnabas, Ananias and Sap­phira decided to sell a piece of their land and give some of the proceeds to the church. Perhaps, they saw it as a way to elevate themselves in the eyes of the people. They acted out of impure motivation and a lack of the fear of the Lord.

Their story is recorded in Acts 5:1-11. Before continuing the lesson, take a moment to read the story here.

It Was Their Land After All

There was nothing wrong with Ananias and Sap­phira selling the land and keeping a part of the profit for themselves. It was their land, and they could give and keep what they wanted. However, what they did wrong was that they lied about what they did.

In verse 3 … “Then Peter said, “Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself.”

Ananias’ actions were a willful misrepresentation of the truth, and that is what Peter rebuked him.

The Holy Spirit is not just a fragmented representation of God; the Holy Spirit is God in the Church. And how you treat the Holy Spirit is how you treat God.

In verse 4 of the MEV and NKJV translations read:  “…Why have you conceived this deed in your heart…”

The word “conceived” is the Greek word tithemi, and the word “deed” is the Greek word pragma. These two words confirm that Ananias and Sapphira had a premeditated strategy they were working out.

The Consequences of not having a Fear of the Lord

Verse 5 reveals a very powerful lesson to the early believers: “On hearing these words, Ananias fell down and died. And great fear came on all those who heard these things.

The word “great” is the word mega, and the word “fear” is the word Phobos.

The instant Ananias died, an enormous, all-consuming fear came upon the early believers. That is, a fear, a hush, an amazement, a trembling literally came upon the entire church.

Right before the eyes of the Early Church, The instant Ananias died, an enormous, all-consuming fear came upon the early believers. This act recorded for believers of all generations is what can happen when we mishandle the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

Unfortunately, Sapphira had the opportunity, to tell the truth, but she didn’t. She carried out the strategy she and Ananias had conceived not knowing what had happened to her husband. Her outcome was the same as his.

Through all that took place that day, the Early Church received a clear message: The Holy Spirit who is working inside the church is God, and we need to respect Him and treat Him properly. The same holds true for us today.

The power of the Holy Spirit brings life-giving blessings when respected and handled correctly. But if we mishandle Him — if we lack the reverential fear of the Lord — we will experience negative consequences.


Questions for Consideration

1. The fear of the Lord is an empowering grace that is developed in us by the Spirit of God Himself as we abide in a relationship with Him. What does the fear of the Lord look like? Explore these verses from Scripture, and journal what the Holy Spirit reveals to you.

  • Deu­teronomy 10:12-13
  • Proverbs 3:5-8; 8:13
  • Psalm 34:11-14

2. In Isaiah 11:1-5, we are given a prophetic picture of Jesus before He made His debut on earth. One of His characteristics mentioned is that He would be filled with and delight in the Spirit of the fear of the Lord. What do you think this means and how might it look in your own life? Take a few minutes to meditate on this passage.

3. The Bible is filled with countless promises to you and every believer who walks in the fear of the Lord. Take a moment to look over the passages below and identify some of the amazing bless­ings God has made available to you.

  • Psalm 25:12-14; 112:1-3
  • Prov­erbs 10:27; 14:26, 27; 16:6; 19:23; 22:4
  • Luke 1:50

4. The fear of the Lord includes deep awe and wonder for who He is, a trembling that comes from catching a glimpse of His indescrib­able power and wisdom. Stop and think:

  • What stirs up this sense of awe, wonder, and trembling inside of me?
  • What aspects of nature, what truths from God’s Word, what experiences from my life infuse me with this kind of reverential fear?

Be still for a moment and listen. Then write what comes to mind.

Scriptures used are from and unless otherwise noted, I’m using the New Living Translation (NLT)Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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