I’m blessed to have a great dad. Growing up, I had security in knowing that he loved me, and would provide for me at all costs. Yet I also knew that if I disobeyed him, I would be held accountable for my actions. I respected his position as my father.
For me, that’s what it means to fear the Lord. I don’t live each day in fear of God’s judgment raining down on me. Yet I know that as His child, He expects me to obey the commands He’s laid out in His Word. I reverence Him as God, and recognize that He will chastise me if I fail to respond when He corrects me.
So why am I listing fearing the Lord as the first step to becoming a wise woman? Because the Bible clearly tells us that it’s where to start if we want to be wise.
Here we go.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. ~Proverbs 9:10
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding
have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever. ~Psalm 111:10
If I want to begin to be wise, I’m going to fear the Lord. What does that mean, practically speaking? Here’s a few thoughts I’ve had as I considered this idea.
1. I get to know Him. Because I had a relationship with my dad, I knew he loved me and wanted what was best for me. A relationship with God begins with my salvation. Beyond that, spending time reading my Bible, praying, and meditating on Scripture will cause me to know more about Him. As I study the stories of the Old Testament and Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament, I begin to understand God’s character and how He deals with His people. The more I know about God and see His love demonstrated toward me, the more I will want to please Him.
2. I recognize His holiness and my sinfulness. Don’t totally write off the word “fear” as simply meaning respect. Just as I knew my dad could make my life uncomfortable if I chose to disobey him, so God is holy and will chastise me if, as His child, I choose to live in sin. Old Testament stories of characters like Achan and Korah remind us that directly disobeying God’s commands can have serious consequences. Yes, God does love us beyond belief, but even Hebrews 10:31 reminds us that, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
3. I respect His authority in my life. Because I know God wants what’s best for me, I submit to what He seeks to do in my life. Recently, a friend shared with me how she’d
wrestled with God when she got a cancer diagnosis. Yet even in those difficult moments, she knew that the path God had put before her was ultimately what would be for her best and His glory. Just as I may not have always understood the reasons behind my dad’s rules (just as my girls don’t always understand the reasons behind mine 😉 I was responsible for following them. Which leads us to number four…
4. I obey Him. Typically my dad’s rules were pretty clear. It wasn’t often that I was uncertain about what I should or shouldn’t do. It was more a matter of my deciding if I was going to do the right thing or not. As I study God’s Word, I can find commands like be kind to one another (Ephesians 4:32); be in a spirit of prayer at all times (I Thessalonians 5:17); and tell the truth (Ephesians 4:25). If I want to be living in the fear of the Lord, I’m going to ask the Holy Spirit for help to know and obey what God tells me to do.
I think there’s a reason that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. My relationship with my dad moved years ago to one built on love. I still respect and want to please him, not because I fear him, but because I love him. So, as we grow in our walk with God, we should move from fear to love, to avoiding wrong not just because I don’t want the consequences of disobedience, but because I love and want to please Him.
Ultimately, we gain many blessings when we fear the Lord!
The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life. ~Proverbs 22:4
The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil. ~Proverbs 19:23
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As we seek to become wise women, we can take the first step by living in reverence and respect for our Lord.