Are You Real Or Fake? 5 Signs That Many “Christians” Don’t Fear The Lord.

What Does It Mean To “Fear the Lord”? 

Some think the Fear of the Lord means to live in absolute terror of the penalty of eternal damnation.  Others believe it means to have such a reverence and respect for him that you keep his commands and live according to his teaching at all times. I personally believe both.  To Fear the Lord is not only to respect and have such a reverence for him because he is God, the same God that loved me enough to have his son take my place and suffer for my sins. The wrath of God is something I don’t want to have placed upon me or my family. I respect God and I have a reverence for him. I am grateful, but I also fear him and do not take my relationship with him lightly.

The Bible mentions the Fear of the Lord over 300 times.  Solomon said in Proverbs 1:7 “The Fear of The Lord is the beginning of knowledge”.  In Exodus 9:29-30 Moses warns Pharaoh that he brings disaster upon Egypt because hedoesn’t fear the Lord.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:28,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”.  In Romans 3:18 Paul talks about sinful and unrighteous men stating, ­”There is no fear of God before their eyes”.  So being a “God-Fearing man” isn’t a bad thing.  It is the beginning of knowledge and keeps me focused on his teachings and promises as well as focused on living a life pleasing to him.

Growing Up In A Church That Didn’t Fear The Lord.

Some of my earliest memories are of my family going to church every Sunday morning. We went to an inner-city church which was first Baptist and then changed to Apostolic.  It was full of all the stereotypical things you would see in most large inner-city churches. Frequent lessons on how if you didn’t pay your tithes you were robbing God and would be “Cursed with a Curse” (While the pastor robbed his followers).  There was the throne like chairs centered directly behind the pulpit where the pastor, his wife, and sometimes a special guest sat like royalty surveying their peasants.  The typical “Sister” or “Mother” (insert name here) that would scream, flail, and dance while pretending to be in a trance-like state hit by the “Holy Spirit” whenever the organ player decided to spice things up.

The one thing that really turned me away from the church was the mindset that the Pastor’s family was beyond reproach and never to be questioned.  Many of their sins were well known yet swept under the rug. Besides the obvious theft (which was called “blessings”) there were other things which were outright criminal. Things like mortgage scams and sex trafficking to name a just a few. More shocking to me was the people committing these acts were still allowed to “Preach the Word of God”.

I was amazed that people (including many of my own family members) still followed them saying “That was between them and God and we aren’t to judge”. However, when word got out one of the teen girls was having sex, she was dragged out in front of the congregation and made an example of. They may as well had placed her in stocks and threw rotten tomatoes at her.  After seeing this I decided it was at this time to leave.   I knew this wasn’t a God Fearing church. In fact, it made me turn my back on God entirely for almost 20 years.

The reason I tell this story is that places and people like this aren’t uncommon, they are the norm.  Many places we call “churches” have lost the “Fear of the Lord”. They are spiritually dead and filled with people who are either deceived by false teachers or deceivers themselves.  Ministers who are charlatans, bullies, and pimps.  These churches have become family businesses, more concerned about money and prestige than they are about spreading the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

So what are the signs of Churches and “Christians” that either lost the Fear of the Lord or never had it?

1. Your Spiritual Life Is Nothing But a Hobby.

I once read that about 70% of Americans claimed to be “Christian”.  I can tell you that many of this 70 % don’t truly follow Christ. For many church is nothing more than a tradition. Something to do on Sunday and maybe one other night during the week.  I know from experience that many of the people I went to church with, including myself at one time, didn’t follow Christ although we claimed to be Christian.

Do you pick up our bible on Sunday morning, put it down Sunday afternoon, and not pick it back up again until the following Sunday.  For most the Bible is nothing but a book and reading it is more a chore than anything.  We can make time for everything else but reading the Word is last on our to-do list.

Do you ever pray for wisdom and knowledge as Solomon did?  Do you pray for other people to be delivered from sin?  Do you pray over your children before sending them to school?  Do even teach them about God? Do you ever pray with them?  Or do you not have enough time because Love and Hip-hop, Empire, the Bachelor, and Dancing with the Stars are on TV.  Whatever you place before God, will soon become your god.  I know we  Take your prayer life as seriously as you take anything else you consider important.

Then, there are those that go to church, not to learn about God, but to be entertained. I had a friend who said she had to “Try out” for her church’s worship team because they wanted to make sure “the people saw a show worthy of the church standards”.  It’s so ridiculous to think in order to reach the world, they have to mimic the world with lights and special effects instead of relying on God and the message of the Gospel.  I remember talking to another woman that was so distraught that the person leading worship didn’t sing the songs she liked that she decided to leave the church altogether.  Obviously, the church wasn’t about Christ, but all about her being entertained.

Social media has definitely made it easy to watch those who claim the Lord but don’t fear him.  I go on Instagram and see the club selfies with captions loaded with f-bombs. Or the guy speaking about how wasted he was the night before. And so on Sunday morning, they are front and center singing songs like “I surrender all”.  Funny how I once heard someone say that most lies told in the church are sung.  It’s easy to live a double life, but not so easy to stay true to who you claim to be. But that is where having the “Fear of the Lord” comes in.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  Matthew 7: 13-14

2. You Look for Spiritual Loopholes to "Sin without really sinning".

One night I had a bible study in my home and the topic was relationships.  One woman asked if watching pornography was wrong?  I answered yes because you are finding enjoyment in watching others sin and thus condoning it.  She asked “Well, what if they are married. Is that still sinning because if they are married, it’s not fornication.”   I had her go to Matthew 5:28 where Jesus said the following;

“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Behavior like this really bothers me.  People who claim Christ, yet want to get as close to the end of sin as possible without falling.  Well, if you purposely try and find a way to “Sin without sinning” you are sinning.  This only shows that you have no reverence for God and your faith is a joke. You still love your sin too much to turn from it completely, thus you try to find what I call “Spiritual Loopholes”.

Satan did this with Eve in Genesis 3:3-5.

“but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'" The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

We do the same thing. “Oh I can go to the club and drink a little, I’m not going to do anything wrong. I won't surely die”.  “She isn’t my wife yet, but if I give her a promise ring I’m committing to her so we can have oral sex, that isn’t really sex so that’s ok, I won't surely die”.  Making excuses to sin shows you have no fear of the Lord.

3. Grace Is Used As A Reason To Participate In Sin Instead Of A Reason To Abstain From It.

You say things like “I can do whatever I want because all I have to do is pray for forgiveness and everything will be ok”.  What you fail to understand is that grace isn’t given as a reason to continue in sin. It’s not your spiritual “Get out of jail” card where you can mutter a meaningless prayer that you don’t even mean and believe everything will be ok.  You have no conviction for your sin, thus you have no fear of its consequences.  You’ve lost any sensitivity to sin, thus you’ve lost the reverence of the Lord.

Freedom in Christ is perverted to mean we can do whatever we want free of consequences.  That if we go to church, repeat a meaningless “Prayer of Salvation”, that we will be ok.  I’ve heard someone say “Oh, my daughter gave her life to Christ when she was nine, so it doesn’t matter what she does now she’s going to heaven”.  Show me in the bible where if you say a prayer one time as a child, you can live the rest of your adult life in sin and make it to heaven? I remarked earlier about seeing church goers on Facebook and Instagram, openly and proudly participating and praising sinful behavior.  Once I heard a woman say, “I give my life to Christ every year, so I know I’m going to heaven. “ Well, I hate to break it to you, but you never gave your heart Christ at all.  You have not been broken over your sins and thus no fear of the Lord.

When you truly give your life to Christ and experience a spiritual encounter, you can’t continue to sin without feeling convicted.  I know because after I gave my life and had my spiritual encounter, I continued to sin and it made me miserable.  I was restless, going from relationship after relationship, having sex with woman after woman, and feeling guilty because I knew what I was doing was wrong!  I finally decided that enough was enough and I would no longer put my eternity in jeopardy for a few minutes of pleasure. I had the Fear of the Lord and it changed me.  I could never again be happy unless I sought him and lived for him, period.

The Bible also warns us what happens to those that give their life to Christ and turn back to their sin. They are not honored as some are instructed with the false ideology of “Once Saved, Always Saved”.  The Bible depicts it as if you are a dog returned to its own puke.  People vomit when they ingest something that the stomach doesn’t like.  The body needs to get rid of it so it vomits it out.  Sin is poison to the soul.  So when you give your life to Christ, you release the poison. However, like the dog described in the scripture below, many people run back to it, eating the very poison they let go of.

If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit, “and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” 2 Peter 2:20-22


A true Christian recognizes that they cannot continue to live in sin and claim to love God. The reality of sin takes them to their knees in fear because they recognize that they love something God hates. No man, no woman can serve two masters.  You cannot love something that God hates and claim to love him. It's simple as that.  You can say it, but you don’t mean it.  You’ve lost the Fear of the Lord.

"The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21

 

4. You Teach A False Doctrine Of Health And Wealth Which Lures People With Promises Of Riches And Comfort.

 

On Mother’s Day, I accompanied my mother to her church where she was giving a speech.  I enjoyed her speech on Motherhood, then the pastor began to pray.  He prayed for things like “Unexpected checks in the mail” and said things like “This is your season of plentiful harvest”.   How many times have you heard a preacher say something like this?

If you watch many of the Christian television stations you will hear it a lot of false doctrines. People posing as men and women of God telling you to send them money if you want a blessing.  And many people, either out of desperate or greed, will fall for this mockery of the Gospel.  False prophets spreading a false doctrine that gives people a false sense of salvation while placing them in real spiritual bondage.

 

What’s amazing is that the bible talks about people like this.  Paul warned Timothy to watch out for false teachers. What he said to Timothy almost two thousand years ago is just as relevant for us today.

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”  2 Timothy 4:3-4

5. Idolatry Has Taken Over To The Point Where You Believe You Know More Than God. Thus You Think You Are One.

There are some churches that actually have the nerve to tell God, his way of doing things are obsolete. That the Gospel message must be modified to coincide with the world we exist in today. The dangers of sin and the consequences of it isn’t taught because it offends. Not only is it not taught, but many are told turning from sin isn’t necessary for salvation. That the term “sin” is up for debate and as long as they are happy there is no need to change.

Scripture is taken and twisted to support perversion as we are told that it “depends on how it’s interpreted”. People who have become so smart that they believe they better than God. Jesus is no longer Lord and Savior, he’s just some long-haired hippie spreading love and since he loves everyone there is no need for you to change.

This type of thinking is dangerous because when you think you are smarter than God, you start to believe you are a god.  In fact, there are those that will tell you, “You are made is God’s image, thus you are a god”. This is idolatry.  When you start to believe you are a god and no longer need God than you have no fear of him.  You are lost.

The Bible says numerous times that wisdom and knowledge start with the fear of the Lord.

"And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.'" Job 28:28

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10

“The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility.” Proverbs 15:33

Conclusion

The signs of so-called “Christians “that have lost the Fear of the Lord is clear.  I know because I was one of them once.  I played church while living a life totally separate from Christ, so I speak from experience. And as mentioned above, I know what it’s like to go to a spiritually dead church.   I’m glad I had my eyes open to my own hypocrisy as well as that of others.  I truly hope this article helps you.

When you finally decide to truly stop living a sinful life and live a righteous one, people will talk bad about you.  When you decide to stop going to the clubs, stop getting drunk, stop doing drugs, stop gossiping, stop fornicating and whatever else, people will turn on you.  Many of those you thought were your friends as well as family will turn on you because you made a choice to no longer participate in their sin.

  • You’re trying to be holier than thou.
  • You think you’re God’s spokesperson?
  • You did these things in the past, you can’t undo it.
  • You are being judgmental and think you’re better than me.
  • Stop trying to push your religion on me.

People will push you. The world is turning more and more against Christ and they will claim your faith is hate speech. You will be called a phobe, a bigot, and many other things for standing up for your faith. But this also has been foretold.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” 

John 15:18-19

 

The passage below is one of my favorite passages from the Bible.  It gives me the courage to stay strong and do what is right.   I urge you to be like Paul. Stay strong, finish the race, and complete the task that has been given to you.

 

“ I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2Timothy 4: 7-8


 

 

 

Terrell Cotton is a motivational blogger and a full-time single father of two boys who are his heart and soul.  His blog, Terrellcotton.com, is dedicated to helping men become better versions of themselves by building upon authentic manhood, fatherhood, and faith.

 


 

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