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Getting Off the Emotional Roller Coaster

By Dr. Don Dunlap
Pastoral Counselor
Fearing God is vastly different from fearing man. When we fear God we obtain wisdom - and peace. -

Do you sometimes feel that you are sentenced to ride a roller coaster of your fluctuating and unreliable emotions? In the 7th of 19 articles, Dr. Don Dunlap explores the meaning of fearing God biblically. He reminds us that the reverent fear of God and trust in the Lord are the keys to keeping a steadfast heart that “has no fear of bad news.” We do not cower before God in dread. Rather, we boldly approach His throne in Jesus’ name.

Fears of all sorts seem to constantly assault people today. They fear the unknown. They fear that they will lose their jobs. They fear that someone may break into their houses and rob them. They fear driving on the freeway or they may fear an angry spouse.

The fear of God is vastly different from the fear of man.

God’s Word, however, identifies a different kind of fear. It is called the fear of God and it is the scriptural prerequisite for wisdom. The fear of God might also be defined as awe or reverence.

  • People who fear God have a profound sense of His holiness and righteousness.

  • When Christians fear the Lord, they have a compelling desire to please Him with obedient hearts and upright lifestyles.

  • Because they fear God, they desire to avoid His displeasure.

A Christian who does not fear God cannot obtain wisdom.

God teaches us in His Word that many benefits occur in the life of a Christian who learns to live in the fear of God. We cannot be saved apart from an acknowledgement of His perfect holiness.

The writer of Psalms 85:9 assures us,

Surely, His salvation is near those who fear Him.

We read in Psalms 111:10 that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

All who follow His precepts have good understanding.


A Christian who fears God is no longer sentenced to ride the roller coaster of his or her unreliable and fluctuating emotions. We learn in Psalms 112:7 that by trusting in the Lord we will have steadfast hearts and will have “no fear of bad news.”


If we fear God and shun evil, God promises in Proverbs 3:7,8, to bring health to our bodies. The writer of Proverbs 10:27 informs us that the fear of the Lord adds length to our lives.

God extends His promises to those who fear Him, to three generations.

When we fear God He extends His wonderful promises to our grandchildren. We read in Psalms 103:13,

From everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him and His righteousness is with their children’s children.

In many other Psalms we find that God stores up His goodness to bestow on those children who fear Him and He has compassion on them.

The Christian who fears God lacks nothing.

In Scripture, God further assures us of His protection and provision when we fear Him. We learn in Psalms 33 and 34 that the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him and He encamps His angels around them. God commands us in Psalms 34:9,

Fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing.

In Proverbs 19:23 we even discover the secret to getting a good night’s sleep:

The fear of the Lord leads to life. Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

Deuteronomy 10:12 is a clear statement of God’s requirement that His children fear Him,

What does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul?

When we learn to fear God biblically we do not cower before Him in dread. Instead we come before His throne with a heart that reverently trembles in the presence of His majestic holiness. In Jesus’ name alone, we boldly approach Almighty God with unspeakable gratitude for His unending lovingkindness and His amazing grace.


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