Men's Devotional | Wisdom for the Journey - Day 10

The Fear of the Lord as the Key to a Blessed Life

By Dr. Robert Jeffress

“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death.” ~ Proverbs 14:27

As we have seen in this devotional series, Proverbs is a book full of wisdom for every area of life. It’s readily available to us any time we need it. And access to it has never been easier. American men today have the Bible in more formats and editions and translations than any generation in history. It’s all there for the taking, this open treasure chest of God’s instruction for living a blessed and happy life.

Yet every year, surveys show that fewer and fewer men are interested. Most men, even most Christian men, open up God’s Word just a few times a year. Why is that? If access to God’s wisdom is at an all-time high, then why is interest at an all-time low?

It’s not as though men today don’t need help or guidance. They do, desperately. By almost every measure, men are doing worse and experiencing less of the good in life. Chronic health problems are going up. Life expectancies are going down. Marriages are ending. Families are getting smaller. Job satisfaction and earnings are declining.

And those trends are just the easy-to-measure and easy-to-notice symptoms of distress. They do not capture the spiritual vacuum that many men today feel. The sense of purposelessness and lack of meaning. Would anyone say that most men today are living happy lives? Then why do their Bibles remain closed? Why don’t men want to hear what God has said about how to be blessed?

Men today don’t fear God. Sometimes I wish the answer were more complicated. But I don’t think it is.

Men today ignore God’s Word because they think they know better. When you don’t fear God, then you don’t care to find out what He has said about how to live. To use a human example: if you don’t respect your parents, are you likely to seek out their advice and counsel? No way. Most men treat their Heavenly Father like the prodigal son treated his dad. They take the Father’s gifts, but they don’t care what He says about how to use them. They don’t fear Him. 

Here’s something that will always hold true—as pride swells, the desire for divine wisdom shrinks. In the book of Proverbs, Wisdom says, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverted mouth, I hate” (Proverbs 8:13). The way of pride and the way of God-fearing are incompatible. You have to pick one.

God is clear that the two ways, pride vs. God-fearing, lead to two outcomes, death vs. life. Proverbs says, “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death” (Proverbs 14:27). Near the end, Solomon repeats, “How blessed is the man who fears always, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity” (Proverbs 28:14). The seriousness of this life-and-death reality is captured by the writer of Hebrews, who declared, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” (Hebrews 10:31). Most men today don’t share that sentiment. They don’t know what it’s like to feel that lump in your throat or weakness in your knees when you think about God’s judgment. They take God lightly. They feel at liberty to dismiss Him, or to redefine Him to suit their tastes. 

I wish men today would humble themselves for a moment and consider the path of wisdom laid out in the Proverbs. Many men today have written off the Bible as irrelevant to their lives, but I wonder if they even know what they’re missing anymore? The Proverbs are some of the plainest and most commonsensical passages in all the Bible. Even someone reading them for the very first time couldn’t miss the shocking generosity of God’s promises to those who fear Him. Here’s just a small sample:

  • “The fear of the Lord prolongs life. . .” (10:27)
  • “The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.” (19:23)
  • “The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor, and life.” (22:4)

Long life. Peaceful sleep. Riches, honor, and life. Aren’t these the things men spend their lives seeking? Well, here they are. God says they can all be yours. All you have to do is fear the Lord. 

I want this to be a word of hope to you today. It doesn’t matter what you have done. Because of God’s great mercy, the blessed life has been kept open and available to you. Humble yourself before Him, accept His gift of forgiveness, and a flourishing life that never ends can be yours in Jesus Christ!

Questions for Thought

  1. Have you ever humbled yourself before God to confess your sin and your ignorance about how to live your life?
  2. Is there a particular part of your life where you have been relying on yourself? How can you submit this to God and trust more fully in His way and His wisdom?


Lord, I realize just how small I am and how great and powerful You are. Please forgive me for the ways I have been relying on myself or seeking my own glory. I need You! I need your mercy and forgiveness through Christ. I need your guidance to know how to live and what to do. Help me walk in your ways each day, in every area of my life. Thank you for the hope You’ve graciously given me through Jesus, and it’s in His name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio

Dr. Robert Jeffress

Dr. Robert Jeffress is Senior Pastor of the 16,000-member First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas, and a Fox News Contributor. He is also an adjunct professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. Dr. Jeffress hosts the daily radio and television program, Pathway To Victory, which is heard in over 195 countries.

Dr. Jeffress is the author of 30 books, including Courageous: 10 Strategies for Thriving in a Hostile World; Invincible: Conquering the Mountains That Separate You From the Blessed Life; and his newest book, 18 Minutes With Jesus: Straight Talk From the Savior About the Things That Matter Most

Dr. Jeffress and his wife, Amy, have two daughters and three grandchildren.