Psalm 36:4 “he [the wicked man] has ceased to be wise and to do good. Even on his bed he plots evil; he commits himself to a sinful course and does not reject what is wrong.”
[This can also be true of believers–those who at one time committed themselves to be followers of Jesus, but now follow their own way. I think of an acquaintance in ministry who has run roughshod over a multitude of relationships, and has been confronted about this by multiple people, but refuses to admit any wrong doing. He sees no sin in himself, even though he has ceased to do what is wise and good. He has committed himself to a sinful, self-protecting and self-promoting course.
Fear of God brings the opposite: humility and a teachable spirit. This is in stark contrast to this believer’s independent, self-justifying attitude, manifesting itself in pride and rebellion. He burns himself and all those around him.
The outcome of failure to fear God is described in James 3:16: “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” Not a pretty picture, and, unfortunately, what often happens in individuals and churches who fail to fear God.
In contrast is the picture James 3:18 gives us: “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” And we can become peacemakers by fearing God as is described in James 3:17, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
As it says in Psalm 34:12, “Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days,” fear the Lord, for it is the beginning of wisdom.
So let’s check ourselves regularly: are we caring deeply what God says, standing in awe of His wisdom and submitting ourselves to His Word? Or are we going by our own twisted hearts, convincing ourselves that we know best? Big consequences flow from each course!