Date: December 4, 2022
The Fear of God
The Point: The fear of God gives us the foundation to face all other fears.
Get Into the Study
Use this story after discussing question #1.
When we think about fear, we often think of it as a bad thing—something to rid ourselves of, so that we can brave the world unhindered. We want to be fearless. However, a different approach to how we view fear recently came from a rather ironic source—someone who appears to live the most fearless life imaginable. In an August NPR interview, Bear Grylls, survivalist, adventure-seeker, and former star of Man vs. Wild said this: “Fear is a huge part of my life, it’s part of my job…. Fear isn’t an enemy. It’s something that nature gives you to allow you to stay sharp and perform well and to have all your senses firing.” He goes on to say that he finds that a lot of people spend their lives avoiding fear, but this can backfire. “When you’re thrown into a scary situation, that fear muscle isn’t strong, so you get kind of an overload of adrenaline,” he says. “And an overload of adrenaline is always going to create a kind of a fog of war.”
While we don’t want to live in constant fear of everything, as Christians, having a healthy fear of God and His power, is both biblical and sensible. It helps us see God—and ourselves—more clearly. Fearing the Lord simply means understanding His power—standing in awe of His greatness— while keeping in mind that He wields His power in love for His children. As we navigate each day, may we remember that fear isn’t always the enemy. A healthy fear of an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God is a gift that will help us discern the decisions we make each day. As a matter of fact, it may even make us a little more fearless of everything else.
How often do you think about “fearing” the Lord as a part of your relationship with him?
Get Into the Study [Option from the Adult Leader Guide, p. 17]
In advance, play a video about people dealing with fear. Then ask Question #1.
Study the Bible
After reading Psalm 33:18-22, point the group to the following story.
Before Hurricane Ian in September, millions of Florida natives were ordered to evacuate. While most left, some chose to stay, assuming that Ian wouldn’t be worse than any previous hurricanes they had experienced, or thinking they would still be better off by staying in their homes. Tragically, 109 lives were lost during Hurricane Ian, and a medical examiner reported that most of those lives could have been saved if they had chosen to evacuate when ordered. Hurricane Ian was the deadliest tropical storm to hit Florida since 1935.
Sometimes, the only safe choice is to listen to experts in authority. As Christians, we have the opportunity to listen to the ultimate authority—our heavenly Father. No matter how old or mature we become, we all still find ourselves, at times, ignoring the boundaries the Lord gives us, believing we might have a better plan for ourselves. But we must remember that God loves us, and wants to guide and protect us for our own good—and that fearing the Lord brings life, and life to the fullest. May we depend on his faithful love daily, giving thanks that the Lord is watching over our lives.
When is it most difficult for you to trust in the Lord’s authority over your life?
Live It Out [Option from the Adult Leader Guide, p. 25]
In advance, play a praise video like “Stand in Awe.” Invite group members to sing along or silently reflect upon God’s nature that inspires our awe of Him. Then close in prayer.
- When is a time you felt a healthy fear?
- When has fear served a good purpose in your life?
- As a child, what were some of the things that frightened you?
- What aspects of creation put you in awe of God?
- How can we demonstrate the fear of the Lord on a daily basis?
- What obstacles often prevent us from standing in awe of God?
- What truths about God make it easier for you to surrender to His plans?
- Who in your life is an example of someone surrendered to God?
- How can we avoid trusting in our own plans rather than the plans of God?
- What causes us to choose our plans over the plans of God?
- In what ways have you seen God provide for you in unexpected ways?
- When have you felt God’s protection over you?
- What practices have helped you depend on God?
For Those in Your Group
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Click here for a 20-minute podcast for both the group member and the leader.
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