What is our real purpose in life? What are we seeking to accomplish: drawing large crowds to church, being the biggest or best (fill in the blank), having good feelings, being accepted, or being thought well of? Maybe you are seeking fun, pleasure, or retirement security.
Everyone needs to think about life and their purpose in it. Life for King Solomon seemed so futile. Like many people, Solomon was rather self-sufficient. He had plenty of wealth, wine, women, and wisdom—although he didn’t use the last one often enough. The whole book of Ecclesiastes is about Solomon pursuing happiness and meaning in life, but finding neither. He could honestly say, “Been there: done that.”
Please understand, there is nothing wrong with being happy, being satisfied, or enjoying life—I am all three! The question is, “How can I achieve meaning and satisfaction in this life?”
Our Responsibility Is to Fear God
Solomon sums up the whole book of Ecclesiastes in chapter 12:13: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”
Here is the starting point to finding meaning and purpose in life. Apart from God, life is meaningless, selfish, worldly, and definitely misses the mark. Someone has said that the greatest discovery is knowing the will of God, and doing it. Our first duty, and one that brings real meaning to life is to fear God.
But what does the Bible mean when it tells us to fear God? The short answer is that we are to have a reverential awe of God. But the fear of God is more than that: it is the continual awareness that I am in the presence of a holy, just, and almighty God, and that every thought, word, and action, is open before Him.
So here is the summary of our responsibility in life: fear God. From a practical standpoint, do you know why I don’t use the exclamation, “Oh my God,” or “Oh Lord”? It’s because I fear God. Do you know why we don’t use CCM, rock music, or sensual musicians in our church? It’s because we fear God. Do you know why we take seriously what God says about good and evil? Because we fear God. Do you know why I plan to stay married to my wife for another 45 years if the Lord should tarry and we don’t die first? It is because we fear God.
“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” Ephesians 5:21
5 Benefits to Fearing God
There are some great benefits for those of us interested in fearing God:
- It helps keep us from giving in to evil (Proverbs 8:13).
- It enables us to overcome any sinful habit by walking away from it (Proverbs 16:6).
- Fearing God gives you strong confidence (Proverbs 14:26).
- When you Fear God, He meets all your needs (Psalm 34:9).
- God provides salvation to those who fear Him (Psalm 85:9).
Oswald Chambers wrote, “The remarkable thing about fearing God, is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else; whereas, if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.”