I am a companion of all who fear you, of those who keep your precepts. Psalm 119:63
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom. Colossians 3:16
There are some things that strike fear in my heart. A sudden rush of adrenaline will course through my system if I’m traveling over the speed limit and see a previously-hidden DPS vehicle with radar gun aimed my way. For a very different reason I am extremely fearful of going over the speed limit in a school zone. I do not want to hurt a child! I am fearful of causing my bank account to be overdrawn. Fear can be a powerful motivator for good.
Sadly, however, self-serving fear is a very dangerous and harmful force in the world. For fear I may fail to speak a word of defence when someone is being maligned by a group of friends or acquaintances. I may refuse to provide financial help to someone in need for fear of what others may think of me. Fear can be a good thing, or a bad thing.
When the psalmist speaks of being a companion of those who fear God, he is expressing a worthy sentiment. It is good to surround yourself with people who value God’s commands and precepts. It is good to travel with a group that is committed to following in God’s ways. That is at least part of the purpose of gathering with other believers in worship, fellowship, study, and mission. We are better together. We can do more in concert with others who add their strength to ours for the cause of Christ’s rule and reign in the hearts of people.
Note well, moreover, that it is especially good if these with whom we travel through life have a reverential fear of God. They will help us resist the temptations of the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh. They can encourage us to follow Jesus in the difficult times. They can direct us toward a clearer understanding of God’s word. They can even offer a word of admonishment if necessary.
To offer such a word of admonition is another fearful thing. We may be afraid of our brother’s or sister’s response toward us. We may lose their friendship. We may be ostracized or falsely accused of judgmentalism.
But let’s be clear: we can choose to order our lives based on our fear of God or our fear of man. The ways we would be led if we are to be directed by the fear of man may or may not be right and true. But the ways to which the fear of God directs us are true, right, and good. For that reason the fear of God – when connected with love and trust of God – is a powerful and vital force for good in life.
Fear, love, and trust are the proper, good, essential, and true foundation stones of a vital relationship with God. Fear will keep us from doing bad things. Love will draw us back to God so we can know more about him. Trust will enable us to stay the course when it is difficult.