The most important thing we can teach children is to fear God. And when they learn this important truth, wisdom and knowledge will follow. (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10)
You may be thinking, “I don’t want children to be fearful of God.” Yes, you do! Let me explain.
The Bible teaches us to fear the Lord in two ways. The first is REVERENT FEAR. This type of fear means that we reverence, respect, honor, and worship God because He is Holy (Psalm 99:1-5). In other words, we are to be in awe of His greatness and glory!
When children learn to reverently fear God, it impacts how they think, speak, and behave. For example, when a son or daughter dearly loves and respects their father and mother and desires to please them, they show their parents reverent fear. This child is not afraid of being punished. Instead, their fear stems from not wanting to displease, disappoint, or offend those they loves.
In Psalm 111:10a (ESV) it reads, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;” The focus of this verse is on a sense of awe and respect for the holiness and majesty of God.
Often, Christians get too casual with God, and children imitate what they see adults do. We forget who we are talking to when we pray. We also forget who we are worshipping at church. As children’s ministry leaders, we must maintain a healthy respect and adoration for Almighty God by remembering who He is and what He has done, and our lives should reflect that reverence.
Make it a priority to teach the children in your church a reverent fear of God and how to come before His Majesty with respect and honor. Check out the story of Isaiah’s vision in Isaiah 6:1-7 to learn about God’s holiness and majesty.
The second way the Bible teaches us to fear the Lord is REAL FEAR. We fear God because He is all-powerful and has all authority to destroy a person and cast them into Hell.
Matthew 10:28 (ESV) says, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in Hell.”
In Hebrews 10:31 (ESV), it reads, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
We live in a world where children are not taught to fear the Lord, either reverently or in reality, because the adults around them live their daily lives with no fear of God at all (Psalm 36;1: Romans 3:18).
Children need to learn that disobedience to God and His Word has consequences. And they should dread what God will do to the sinner who refuses to repent of their sin and turn to Christ by faith as their Savior and Lord. (Matthew 25:30)
Disobedience is the natural result of a person who has no REAL FEAR of God. When a child does not fear God, they have no motivation to listen to God or obey His Word. In the Old and New Testaments, fearing God is connected with a person’s obedience. The Bible makes a clear distinction between those who fear God and those who don’t. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Acts 10:35).
Check out the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11 to learn how fear came upon the whole church after this husband and wife sinned, and God punished them by death for their disobedience.
In conclusion, the Biblical way to fear the Lord is to be in awe of God for who He is and to be in terror of God for what He can do.
Teach these things to your kids at church.
FOR YOUR MINISTRY TOOLBOX
1) Do you understand the difference between REVERENT FEAR and REAL FEAR of God? If not, listen to this podcast again, review the Show Notes, and look up each Bible verse listed in the Show Notes, as some were not mentioned in this podcast.
2) Do you fear God in your life? Is your REVERENT FEAR and REAL FEAR of the Lord evident to others? If not, what specific changes do you need to make today?
TAGS: Psalm 36:1, 99:1-5, 111:10; Proverbs 1:7, 9:10; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Isaiah 6:1-7; Matthew 10:28, 25:30; Acts 5:1-11, 10:35; Romans 3:18; Hebrews 10:31; Fear God; Reverent Fear; Real Fear; Teaching Children
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