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Fear of God

“With supernatural authority, Christ our God rebukes the wind and calms the sea (Mark 4:39). He intends to awaken his disciples from their trembling and bring them to a righteous fear – a holy awe and dread of God. In this passage the Evangelist Mark uses the word delia, meaning timidity or fright, and also phobos, meaning “fear of the Lord.” The disciples’ initial fright is delia, while their Master’s control over the elements evokes phobos: “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (Mark 4:41).” (Dynamis 9/9/2020)

“If we skim over this lesson, we can easily miss the first hint of the disciples’ fear, which appears in this statement: “Jesus made His disciples get into the boat” (Matthew 14:22). The original Greek verb translated here as made is not the equivalent of “command” or “order.” Its root meaning is “to press,” as in the sense of moral persuasion. The Lord is expressing His will in the matter; He wants them to cross the lake in the boat ahead of Him. Why then does He persuade His disciples to obey? According to Blessed Theophylact, “They wanted to be with Him at all times.” And so, He acts gently. Rather than ordering or commanding them to leave, the Lord presses them to set sail. He thereby helps them past the uneasiness of the separation and persuades them to comply in faith. Though fear and faith are interwoven, faith is born from their willingness to obey despite their reluctance. Faith actualizes itself when we override our misgivings and hesitations and submit ourselves to the will of God.” (Dynamis 8/9/2020)

“The greatness of God rouses fear within us, but His goodness encourages us not to be afraid of Him." (A. W. Tozer)

“From Scripture the soul of the reader learns the confidence of hope and the humility of fear. Thanks to the weight of the fear, it does not have the temerity to be proud; but this fear does not cast it into utter despair, because the soul is fortified in the strength of hope.” (St. Gregory the Great)

“To meet this God “in whom we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28) there must be a yet deeper liberation. This is where most psychotherapeutic strategies of managing afflictive emotions such as fear leave off, but where the contemplative disciplines continue…Most of us live much of our lives caught in the whirlwind of the stories going on in our heads. As our contemplative practice matures we are presented with opportunities to drop the story and to look straight into these thoughts and feelings that lead many of us around by a nose ring…A lot goes on in our heads that is quite worthless. The silent mind knows that what sees the fear, the pain, the inner chaos, is free of the fear, pain, or chaos. But for the noisy mind it all becomes a huge problem.” (Martin Laird)

"“And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So Peter went out and wept bitterly (Luke 22:61-62)… Peter is so overcome with fear that neither Christ's prediction (Luke 22:34) nor the crowing of the rooster calls him to repentance, but only the Lord's gaze causes him to weep bitterly.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 22:61-62)

“If we focus on the strength of wickedness, we will be overcome with fear. If we focus on ourselves, we will become absorbed in our difficulties or exalt ourselves in our victories. Only when we focus on God can we achieve balance and health.” (Foundation Study Bible, Psalms 141:8)

“God forgives from beyond the infinite expanse of creation, far past the capacity of our minds to measure in light years. God has “made His mercy to prevail over them that fear Him” (Psalms 102:10 LXX, Psalms 103:10). This is incredible! And God initiates it. Neither our sadness nor our repentance inspires Him to act. These are only our finite responses. Fear may well up in our mind when it is moved by terror, but true fear rests in the heart as adoration. Such is God’s gift for “them that fear Him.” We neither earned nor expected such unlimited love!” (Dynamis 3/5/2019)

“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! (Luke 12:4-5)…We fear other people and situations above God due to our damaged will. Christ tells us in this passage to fear God above all else, re-emphasizing the theme in Scripture to fear the Lord. This is not fear as in dread but fear as in awe. It is the beginning of wisdom because it is wisdom to put the Lord first in our lives. We overcome our worldly fear that breeds anxiety with Godly fear that brings peace.” (Sacramental Living Blog)

“… God always gives us light for our path - but only enough for us to take the next step. When we look towards the future, do we see the light shining on our next step? Or do we only see that all the steps beyond the next are still dark? Do we see the light, or do we worry about what will happen to us in the dark?...anxiety…is rooted in fear, fear of what might happen to us. And worrying about ourselves always drives us away from God. When we are anxious about our future, about what will happen a month from now, or a year, or a decade, we are living as if we don’t believe in God. We are not trusting that He will be there for us. We are saying, “Even if there’s light shining on the next step I must take, I don’t trust You. I don’t trust that after I take that next step, You will shine your light on the step I must take after that.” (Douglas Cramer)

"The non-holy and non-righteous kind of fear usually involves: 1. Fear of people and their opinions, and/or 2. Fear of economic insecurity. If I pay attention, I find that most “sins,” most misdirections of my will, are somehow connected to these fears and related ones, like fear of rejection, failure, or even of success. So my cross-carrying journey to “holiness” and “righteousness,” –that is to say, my “salvation,” consists largely of letting go of these bad kinds of fear, and replacing them with faith." (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

“Christ tells us “do not fear’ or ‘fear not’ multiple times in the Gospels. This is because He knows our sinful reaction to God is bad fear, meaning fear that causes us to hide and run away from God like Adam did when he sinned in the garden. Christ, the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45), restores us to our intended state and that state is to no longer fear God with an unhealthy fear that repels, but to fear God with a healthy fear that causes awe and reverence that leads us to draw closer to God and to love Him.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“For the righteous, the fear of God is a response of awe, wonder, adoration, and worship. For the wicked, the fear of God is terror, for there is no escape from Him.” (Foundation Study Bible, Psalms 76:7)

“The fear of God makes a person wise. What is the fear of God? Not that one should be afraid of God, but to be afraid to sadden someone, to harm someone, to do them no wrong, and to not make accusations. This is wisdom. After all this, God will illumine you as to what to do in your life.” (St. Sophia of Kleisoura)

“The fear of God illumines the soul, annihilates evil, weakens the passions, drives darkness from the soul and makes it pure. The fear of God is the summit of wisdom. Where it is not you will find nothing good. Whoever does not have the fear of God is open to diabolical falls.” (St. Ephraim the Syrian)

“Many people today treat religious ideas and speech with flippancy and irreverence. Others assume that religion is merely an ideology that supports the social order. Few stand before the Lord in awe, dread, and fear.” (Dynamis 4/24/2015)

“It is no coincidence that the fear of God largely disappeared from our culture at about the same time that relativism and subjective believing became prevalent.” (Josh McDowell)

"There will always be those among us who fail to grasp the faith – or, more precisely, who are not grasped by the faith. For them, the mystery remains obscure or meaningless. Sadly, their number includes people who attend church regularly and yet live like men did before Christ came into the world. Some will"enter this holy house with faith, reverence, and fear of God,” and some will not.” (Dynamis 7/14/2014)

"There are people who think Christianity is all about living in fear, but on the contrary, Christians are called to live a fearless life. There is one exception: Christians fear God...But the fear of God is not a paralyzing or timid fear. On the contrary, fear of God pushes us to do good, to repent and become more like Christ…Fear of God is the result of faith in God.” (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou, St. Maximos the Confessor)

"Always have the fear of God in your heart, and remember that God is always with you, everywhere, whether you are walking or sitting…fear of God can to lead to a fearless life… Whoever fears God stands above all manner of fear.” (St. Gennadius of Constantinople, Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 112:7, St. Ephraim the Syrian)

“Fear is necessary merely in order that we may master the indolence natural to us. Where there is so fierce a war and such great hindrances, how can we by any possibility be saved without fear?...And how may this fear be produced? If we only consider that God is everywhere present, hears all things, sees all things, not only whatsoever is done and said, but also all that is in the heart, and the depth of the soul, for He is quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart (see Heb. 4:12).” (St. John Chrysostom)

“…the statement of the repentant thief to the unrepentant one: “ Do you not fear God?” I often ponder on this question as we witness acts of unspeakable horror in our world today—from terrorism, wanton violence, white collar criminals who embezzle and steal, etc. I wonder “do they not fear God?” Because anyone with a fear of God is going to think twice before doing some of the things that we do. When I examine my own life, I sometimes shudder with horror at things I have done and said, and then try to remember that we all, myself included, need to have a healthy fear (and love and respect and awe) of God, to keep our temptations and desires in check. Anyone who has gossiped or lied about someone is a thief—because lying and gossiping steals self-esteem and self-worth of others. Let us not be like the unrepentant thief who had no concept of God, and whose exposure to the very Son of God only feet away from him produced no repentance in him.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“As we struggle to please Him [Christ], a healthy fear of the Lord grows within us and reveals whatever separates us from Him.” (Dynamis 1/9/2014)

“Whoever fears God doesn’t fear anything else…Those who fear God are those who respond in awe and wonder to Him.” (Elder Epiphanios Theodoropoulos of Athens, Foundation Study Bible, Psalms 66:16)

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