“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10 ESV)
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV)
The list of Core Values of CWVFF and the Filmmakers Guild is not necessarily meant to be sequential. They are each values that exist simultaneously and collectively. It’s just the nature of lists to have an order to them which is why in the number one spot we have “Jesus Christ is Preeminent”. Certainly, all of the other Core Values fall under that one. But they are not mutually exclusive on one another. They are all part of the whole.
One of those values that we believe is core to who we are as an organization and to the Christian walk is that we understand and operate in the fear of the Lord. Number six in the list is “Fear the Lord in All Things for He will Judge Every Work.”
Here are 4 ways the fear of the Lord will influence your filmmaking (and should):
1 – You will acknowledge God
Having a right perspective on life, the world, and filmmaking starts with knowing that there is, in fact, a Creator, and we are accountable to Him.
“In Him we live and move and have our being…” (Acts 17:28 NKJV)
“…He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31 NKJV)
Our secular filmmaking counterparts are living in a fantasyland where they act as if there is no God. They throw caution to the wind and push the bounds of their creative process to the extreme without fear of consequences. This is not the real world. It’s a figment of their imagination, but it is the world they choose to live in and the world that, sadly, often gets portrayed on film.
“A fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1 NKJV).
We should not follow Hollywood’s lead on this. Those who follow Christ start with the understanding that God does exist and that everything we do is built upon that foundational truth. The way we talk, the way we treat others, and the movies we make all begin there.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10 NKJV)
With this as a starting point, our films should reflect a right relationship between God and mankind. He exists, He is our judge, and we are wise to know that.
2 – You will strive to build His kingdom
Another natural outcome of having the fear of the Lord is taking His character and work upon ourselves. He is the Creator, and He creates good and lasting things. What He is creating is a kingdom for Himself. A “royal priesthood, a holy nation”. (1 Peter 2:9 NKJV) Consider the following words about building this kingdom from the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15. “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (NKJV)
There are many ways to build upon the foundation of Christ, as God has gifted us with various ways to contribute to His work, but since filmmaking is a work of communication consider these words of Jesus:
“…I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37 NKJV)
It is a fearful thing to know that our every work and word will be judged by God. He will test them to see the quality and substance of them. In the ever-present battle of media where “every word is a weapon, and a picture is worth a thousand words,” we must strive to use the words and pictures of film to build on the foundation of Christ with precious and lasting materials.
3 – You will seek to bring glory to the name of God
Fearing God is about more than just avoiding bad things for yourself. It is good and right to fear eternal judgement and the consequences of sin, but a deeper level of the fear of the Lord will cause you to fear bringing shame to the name of Jesus. Living a life of compromise will bring Him dishonor.
“For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” …” (Romans 2:24 NKJV)
However, having a healthy fear of the Lord will cause thoughts, attitudes, and actions that will reflect the goodness of God to the world and will bring Him glory. This is where you “let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 NKJV)
After all, “…God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10 NKJV)
A film that is made with this in mind will be crafted in such a way as to speak of the goodness and glory of God in every aspect of the process from concept to completion. And everyone from the crew and talent to the marketers and audience can tell. Most importantly, God who knows the intent of the heart, can tell.
4 – Your main goal will be to please the Lord.
Having the fear of the Lord is placing Him above all others. He is Lord. He is King. He is preeminent!
“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16 NKJV)
Jesus is the perfect example of living this out. He said, “My food is to do the will of the Father and to finish His work.” (John 4:34 NKJV) In other words, His primary goal was to please the Father and to accomplish the Father’s work above all else. Jesus both lived this Himself and taught His disciples to do the same: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” Matthew 6:33 NKJV)
Paul instructs the church in the same way saying, “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13 NKJV, emphasis added)
We are so privileged to be able to serve God in the arena of creative arts. It has tremendous power to communicate the truth of God to the world. We must never take that for granted and forget the purpose of it all. If MGM’s motto is “Ars Gratia Artis” (Art for art’s sake) ours should be “Soli Deo Gloria” (Glory to God alone).
In the wise words of Solomon, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NKJV) (emphasis added)
This is our all. It is all for Him! Soli Deo Gloria!