I Didn’t Fear God, Until I Realised The Terrifying Impact It Has On How I Spend Eternity

The fear of the Lord is the teaching I have probably heard least in all my years growing up in the church and it is the thing I gloss over most often with my own kids.

God is love right. He loves us. Why would we need to fear him? That was my thinking.

But recently I have learned that the fear of the Lord is the one thing that will most help us to obey God and stick it out to the end. Obeying God and sticking it out to the end is crucial on judgement day to determine our eternal destination: heaven or hell. That’s something I definitely don’t want to mess up.

What does the Fear of the Lord actually mean?

Things we fear are normally things we are scared of, but I think the word fear in the bible is a little different from that because we also know that God is love. God is often described for his loving nature, but we don’t often talk about his righteous anger and judgement.

In the Chronicles of Narnia book series C. S. Lewis describes Aslan as the creator of all things. Aslan is also a lion. We rightly fear a lion.

“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…

“Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.

“The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” C. S. Lewis

Fear of the Lord has also been described as fear of being away from God. What life would be like without him. Life without God will be, quite literally, hell. For a description of hell from people who have had a near death experience, keep reading below.

The Fear of the Lord is also us recognising that Jesus will, at the end of time, judge us. It would be ludicrous to not have a healthy fear of a judge that will determine your fate. And this is our eternal fate we’re talking about.

Hell; The one thing we don’t want to talk about, yet Jesus talked about it often

No one wants to imagine hell. Yet, it is a tragic reality that is coming for many of us. We need to talk about it.

John Bevere made me aware that hell is something Jesus talked about often, more often than anyone else in the bible. He even talked about eternal judgement and hell more than heaven. What?!

I skimmed through the book of Matthew to see how often Jesus talked of hell. And it’s true, he talks of it often. He wants to warn us. But often I just don’t want to see, so I gloss over the bits that make me feel uncomfortable. But the discomfort is there for a reason, to give us a healthy fear of God so that we will obey the commands of the one who made us and knows what’s best for us.

“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Matthew 10:28

Jesus is the only one that can save us from hell. Because hell is what we all deserve for thinking that we can be our own god and do what we like and ignore the God who created us. But because Jesus willingly took our punishment by dying on the cross it means that we can be saved from eternal torment in hell. Jesus will decide on Judgement Day our eternal destination. Believing and giving up everything to follow Jesus and obey his commands (as best we can with God’s help) is our only way to get life with God forever.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad and easy to travel is the path that leads the way to destruction and eternal loss, and there are many who enter through it.”

Matthew 7:13, AMP

“The way to life—to God! —is vigorous and requires total attention.”

Matthew 7:14, MSG

Just how bad is hell?

I used to think that the problem was that we don’t realise how good heaven will be, but I think maybe the more serious problem is that we don’t realise how horrific hell will be.

I have heard stories about people who died and experienced heaven briefly before coming back to life on earth, and these are inspiring. But only recently have I heard of people experiencing the horrors of hell before coming back to life on earth (thanks to the free app: Messenger X, Driven by Eternity audiobook).

I googled to find more people’s near death experiences:

“I was being drawn into this dark abyss, or tunnel, or void…. I was not aware of my body as I know it…. I was terrified. I felt terror. I had expected nothingness; I expected the big sleep; I expected oblivion; and I found now that I was going to another plane … and it frightened me. I wanted nothingness, but this force was pulling me somewhere I didn’t want to go.”

Source: National Library of Medicine

A woman who attempted suicide felt her body sliding downward in a cold, dark, watery environment:

“When I reached the bottom, it resembled the entrance to a cave, with what looked like webs hanging…. I heard cries, wails, moans, and the gnashing of teeth. I saw these beings that resembled humans, with the shape of a head and body, but they were ugly and grotesque…. They were frightening and sounded like they were tormented, in agony.”

Source: National Library of Medicine

A woman who hemorrhaged from a ruptured Fallopian tube reported an NDE involving:

“horrific beings with gray gelatinous appendages grasping and clawing at me. The sounds of their guttural moaning and the indescribable stench still remain 41 years later. There was no benign Being of Light, no life video, nothing beautiful or pleasant.”

Source: National Library of Medicine

Hell is a place I am desperate to avoid at all costs.

How to avoid hell

Lucifer didn’t fear God, neither did 1/3 of heavens angels when they betrayed God and followed Lucifer (who we now know as Satan). God is looking for human beings who will fear him and place him as number one in their life.

To avoid hell we need to make Jesus the number one priority in our lives. And I know this is easier said than done, but for me there are 3 things that have helped me massively in staying the course and following Jesus:

  1. Making a habit of spending time with God each morning before anything else. I use the the free Bible App from YouVersion to help keep me focused.
  2. Listening to John Bevere’s audiobooks on the free MessengerX app has opened my eyes to eternity and the impact I’m having right now on how I spend eternity. I’ve listened to ‘The Bait of Satan’ and ‘Driven by Eternity’ and both have shaken my world.
  3. Reading the instructions Jesus has given us in the bible has taken on a new vigor for me since listening to MessengerX. I have a new healthy fear of God and want to live how he has instructed me to live. I especially like reading his words in the 4 gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and the short but powerful letters he wrote to 7 churches through John in the book of Revelation. I really enjoy reading The Message bible by Eugene Peterson. It is written in a way that is so easy to understand and is laid out more like a book than a bible.