Home christian living Parenting–The Place to Begin is the Fear of God

Parenting–The Place to Begin is the Fear of God

by Kelly Crawford

From C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe:

The Beavers are describing Aslan to the children:

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“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.”

We don’t fear God.

That’s why we are losing our marriages as rapidly as those outside the faith.

It’s why Christianity is not being effectively passed from one generation to another.

It’s why so many Christians suffer from foolish life choices.

It’s why the children in Christian homes are experiencing the same degree of heartache and brokenness as those who don’t know Christ.

It’s why we no longer live in a Christian nation.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

Why do so many Christians–often myself  included–choose our desires over what Scripture asks us to do?  A couple struggling in their marriage decides to justify divorce some way rather than “forgive seventy times seven”, because it’s what their flesh wants.

A man sits in front of a television night after night and watches, what he will admit is “trash”, with no acknowledgment that the Bible speaks to the details of our lives.

Day after day, incidents, seeming small, slowly erode the fabric of our faith and give birth to a Christianity today that looks strikingly different than that of yesterday, and frighteningly close to no Christianity at all.

The last post on being separate from the world–living a life that looks different as a believer–has implications here; it is harder and harder to recognize a  person, a family or a church that reflects the purity of the Bride of Christ and demonstrates the power of His redemptive work.  

We fear man, not God, and that single error rules everything.

This is where our job as parents plays such a crucial part.  We must fight against every notion seeking to diminish our responsibility and obligation to pass the torch to our progeny.  It is not the church’s job, the school’s job or the daycare worker’s job…WE will give an account of our discipleship with our children.  And don’t miss this…while salvation is done in the individual’s heart, we have clear command to instruct, nurture and direct those hearts toward the Lord.  (Even when Eli’s grown sons were sinning against the Lord, He called Eli into accountability.)

And of primary importance is teaching them the fear of the Lord!  God is a multi-faceted Being.  He is LOVE personified and yet of such holiness that anything short of absolute reverence of His name and His Word is blasphemy.

How easily our understanding of Scripture is distorted by the fear of man rather than God!  We are literally afraid of saying “fear the Lord”.

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

So afraid, in fact, that we’ll go around the earth to explain away Scriptures such as these. They disturb our feelings-injected image of who we want God to be, and so we miss the glory of who He really is.

When we don’t fear the Lord, we don’t hate our sin and our lives become cesspools of  lingering, unrepentant, slimy mire that bogs us down and renders us ineffective for the Kingdom.

I see the faulty pattern in the modern approach to parenting.  We have failed to impart the ONE command to our children that is required of them:  Honor your father and your mother.

Unless a child is able to honor and revere his parents, the lens through which he sees and relates to God is distorted.  We love our children with our lives–as does God with us.

And yet BECAUSE of that great love, we should set boundaries, establish rules and expect them to be followed, chastening to bring obedience and restoration when needed.  So it is with Him.  And we should glory in the grave consequences of disobedience!  It is purely His love for us that they are established.

“The love of God [without the fear of God] affects a carnal heart not at all; or if at all, then adversely, for the knowledge that God loves us may simply confirm us in our self-righteousness.” -A.W. Tozer

I grieve for the picture of God we have painted to this generation of children.  How can we teach His love without teaching His justice?  What kind of Father forgoes discipline?  According to the very words of our Savior, only an illegitimate son gets that kind of treatment.

And if we love our children, as imperfect as that love, we must teach them to fear the Lord.  It is the beginning.  It is health and life.

“No one can know the true grace of God who has not first known the fear of God.”  -A.W. Tozer

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Diane December 1, 2009 - 7:43 am


If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is that I do myself no favor by qualifying the word of God. He says what He says, and He means it. As my older children are on the brink of adulthood, I look back and see so many times when I’m afraid I was teaching them to put on a veneer of Godliness, and not dealing with their very heart of hearts. How many times was I content to have them rattle off their Sunday School memory verses, only to forget them the next day… instead of training them in the Word, getting those words of the Lord deep down into their souls? Sigh… we must fear the Lord. His love is meaningless unless we first understand His holiness.

Elizabeth December 1, 2009 - 7:52 am

Wow. I agree with every word. Ironically last night I just read this very verse and wrote it down! God must be trying to tell me something. This verse last evening had me reflecting on this thought that is so prevalent among people I meet, that as long as you say you “believe” in Jesus, you’re somehow “ok.” God is Love, and Jesus saves, but for me at least, I always felt that there was something more. And that verse in Proverbs, I think, is the missing link for me. Loved what you wrote about the man watching hours of trash on the TV too. LOL. How on earth do we stop that? Pray for our husbands, I guess?

Kelly L December 1, 2009 - 12:36 pm

Agreed and agreed. Great post! Finding sin in our life by Holy Spirit’s conviction should cause us to tremble and repent! Not justify and forgive ourselves.

Heather December 1, 2009 - 12:40 pm

Well, with the exception of belief that our nation was once a “Christian” one (not interested in arguing about this as I DO believe we were founded on Christian principles that were agreed on as good for all citizens), I agree with your post.


“I grieve for the picture of God we have painted to this generation of children. How can we teach His love without teaching His justice? What kind of Father forgoes discipline? According to the very words of our Savior, only an illegitimate son gets that kind of treatment.”

…strikes at the heart of what the Lord has graciously shown me is wrong with most of us Christians today. We want the best of both worlds (eternal life while still being allowed to be our own gods). That is exactly what God said in the garden could never be allowed.

This last year, I had the most vicious battle with anxiety and depression I have ever experienced. I came to the point of questioning whether I had EVER been truly saved.

And my Father was so merciful to bring to mind

“”And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons, “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked by Him;
for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives.”
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons, for what son is he whom the father does not chasten?
But if you are without chastisement, of which all are partakers, then you are bastards and not sons. “”Hebrews 12:5-8

Instant illumination!!!! I was so sick of trying to be in charge and so frightened at the frailty of my own being. I was truly brought to the end of myself and was wholeheartedly crying out “Daddy–discipline me! I NEED to know I am yours and can’t go on wondering if I’m just pridefully faking the Christian experience. I’m ready to learn! Teach me your ways so that I man walk in your paths.”

And He has been faithful to answer. None of the circumstances I was worried about have changed, but He has come and is continually changing me.

Never, ever disregard the essential aspect of Godly discipline. We all need it and our humble acceptance of it proves that we belong to Him.

wordwarrior December 1, 2009 - 12:59 pm


Need to ponder the “Christian nation” thing for a minute 😉

Heather December 1, 2009 - 1:22 pm

LOL Kelly!

I know how things tend to spin off-topic around here and certainly don’t want to detract from your main point.

I just have this “honesty” thing that forces me to not say “I totally agree” if I’m not sure that I do.

But oh, I am totally with you on our frighteningly precarious position of having “no fear of the Lord”.

I wonder how many of us are “Isaiah 29 Christians”

“And Jehovah said, Because this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the command of men;
therefore, behold, I will go on doing among this people, a wonder, even a wonder. For the wisdom of their wise ones shall perish, and the understanding of their intelligent ones shall be hidden.
Woe to those who go deep to hide their purpose from Jehovah! And their works are in the dark, and they say, Who sees us? And who knows us?” (Isaiah 29:13-15)

I’m not simply pointing fingers, here, as I’ve seen myself in that passage as well. We go through the external motions, thinking we are serving God, but really, we need a thorough, deep down disinfection. Our only hope is in repenting on our knees, rending our hearts rather than our garments, and begging the Lord to be merciful and heal us.

Laura December 1, 2009 - 2:39 pm

This verse was my daughter’s copywork yesterday… I think I needed to read it more than she needed to copy it.
You are right, the utter lack of fear this generation has for our God is why so many marriages, families, Christian people in general are falling to the wayside. I’ve been strongly convicted on this matter, in my own personal walk as a child of God. Do I reverence Him? Do I justify sin to please my flesh? What effect will this have on my children… my grandchildren?
I’ve been reading “Charlotte Mason Companion” and something she said really struck me in the heart.
She said “To bring the human race, family by family, child by child, out of the savage and inhuman desolation where He is not, into the light and warmth and comfort of the presence of God, is no doubt, the chief thing we have to do in the world.”
Really brings into perspective our high calling as Christians, wives and mothers.
Laura G

Word Warrior December 1, 2009 - 7:13 pm


And I expect you to qualify–a quality I tend to lean to myself. And yes, thinking about that, is was too much a generalization; I agree, we were not founded specifically as a Christian nation but because many of our founding fathers were Christians, much of the political policies mirrored their faith and the principles were “good for all”.

I appreciate the clarification 😉

authenticallyME December 2, 2009 - 3:40 pm

WOW! I was JUST going tow rite, a great post, my only thing was with the ‘christian nation’ reference (albeit a minor one!) becasue I wonder for msyelf what exactly constitutes a ‘christian’ or ‘non-christian’ nation? Where is the protocol?

Charity December 2, 2009 - 4:42 pm


This post is excellent, and timely, as my husband and I have been discussing how the church is now so meshed with the world that you can no longer tell a difference between the two. I completely agree that the “seemingly small incidents” are taking a tremendous toll on the body of Christ. So much filth and sin surrounds us daily that we become dull to what it is…filth and sin! We reason and explain away scripture so that it becaomes meaningless and make excuses for everything from nudity and filthy language to debt and divorce, saying that times have changed so it’s ok. Times may have changed but God’s Word hasn’t, and neither has wrong and right.

Thank you for this post, and may God bless you for not being silent.

Fruitfulvine2 December 3, 2009 - 1:45 pm

Thanks for this. Much need spiritual food for my soul today.

Dlfdd December 10, 2009 - 5:41 am

You never lived in a Christian nation.


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