by Boyd Bailey
There are good fears. The fear of God is one of them. It is foundational. It feeds all other good fears. Wise is the man or woman who first fears God. Fear of God is fervent at the beginning of your faith walk. It is the honeymoon stage of your marriage with Christ. You don’t know any better than to do what is expected. But if the fear of God is neglected, you drift into disobedience (Psalm 36:1). Like any other belief or discipline, the fear of God needs to be fostered by faith and obedience. Fear of God keeps you honest with Him and with yourself. It is the beginning of accountability. The grace of God—without the fear of God—is an illusion. There can be no grace without fear, just as there is no fear without grace. Foolish is the one who does not fear God. The fruits of not fearing God are foolish choices and undisciplined living.
Furthermore, success is an enemy to fearing the Lord. The more you experience success, the more you are prone to not fear. However, the opposite needs to be true. The more successes you enjoy, the more you need the fear of God and the fear of sin’s consequences. Success, many times, grants you autonomy. It is here that you are wise to increase your level of accountability. Be brutally honest with yourself. You can’t handle autonomy without accountability. David couldn’t, and he was a man after God’s heart (Acts 13:22). Autonomy without accountability leads to a series of bad decisions, and left unchecked, to immoral behavior. No one is above the law, and no one is above accountability.
Wise is the leader who builds accountability into his faith, finances, family, work, and leisure. Those who don’t think they need it need it the most. Maybe you start by hiring a personal assistant of the same gender who is with you at work and on business trips. This is your opportunity to mentor a young, up-and-coming leader, and it is his or her opportunity to hold you accountable. We all do better when others are watching. Fear of the Lord keeps you from sinning (Exodus 20:20). Invite accountability from your spouse, board, boss, and accountability group. Be transparent with your professional and personal finances. Tell your spouse when you become emotionally attached to someone else. Be very discreet about your alone time. Idleness leads to indiscretion. You are wise to reserve solitude for your Savior, your spouse, and special friends. Fear of God is your friend. Fear of the consequences of sin is smart. Fear of being unaccountable is wise. Fear of God is freeing. Therefore, fear God, hate sin, and trust Him.