The title of this article is definitely something to ponder upon. The Bible says in 1 John 4:18 (NIV) “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
Other versions go on to say that perfect love casts out or expels fear.
So how can the fear of God be rooted in love? You may be thinking that the title of this article is a paradox because fear according to the Oxford dictionary is ‘an emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain or harm’. This kind of fear is NOT the fear that God wants us to have; the fear of God that I am talking about is the reverence, awe and respect of God.
Hebrews 12:28-29 (NIV) says it plainly, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
God began with Abraham by instilling the fear of Himself within him and we can see this in Genesis 22:12 (NIV) when Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Isaac, God said “Now I know that you fear God.” From Abraham to all his descendants, the children of Israel, God taught about the importance of fearing Him and having reverence towards Him. However nations that came against Israel feared God because of the threat posed against them. In Joshua 6:1 (NIV) it says “Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.” Fear had gripped the people because of the wonders they heard that the God of the Israelites had done.
We should never be afraid of God like that, but we should have the fear of God which is clothed in reverence of Him because God’s blessings are over those who fear Him.
Here is a list of some of the blessings associated with fearing God:
• It will be well (Deuteronomy 5:29),
• You will enjoy long life (Deuteronomy 6:1-2),
• Deliverance in times of trouble (Psalm 34:7-11),
• God will provide for you (Psalm 34:7-11; 111:5),
• It is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7),
• The mercies of God (Luke 1:50).
God wants us to fear Him so that we will not sin against Him. God hates sin, if we truly love we would not want to do anything that God despises or displeases Him. By having this fear we revere the awesomeness of God and His mercies which are everlasting. When love is rooted in this fear of God we begin to enjoy our walk with God the more. Every day people around us who are not believers are observing the way we treat our God, are we humble before Him? Do we offer Him the respect He deserves? How will we act?
We as believers are not to be scared of God! We are to have a fear of God that is not rooted in anxiety but in reverence, submission, discipline and obedience, a fear rooted in LOVE.