Once we understand who God is we develop a healthy fear of God. Healthy in that through wisdom we respect God. This verse isn’t talking about the kind of fear that cripples is or causes us to act in haste. This kind of fear is gained through our relationship with God. It’s like the fear we have if we have loving parents. We seek to obey our parents and we fear hurting them if we go against their wishes. This kept me out of a lot of trouble in my younger years. I follow my parent’s ways because I know them and love them. My fear has evolved from fear of consequences to a respectful fear that is love. As we learn what great love God has for us we respect God and wish to please Him.
Awhile back my pastor mistakenly said, “Perfect fear casts out love.” We laughed as he corrected himself. We knew he meant to say that perfect love casts out fear. As I thought about what he said I realized there is truth in his first statement. Fear can cause us to be unloving. It can keep us from experiencing all God has for us. Fears hit us where we are vulnerable. We fear what we don’t know. There so much we don’t know about God but as we walk courageously towards God our fear changes. It’s no longer a fear that I’ll be zapped out but the deepest kind of respect, the kind that only God deserves.
C.S. Lewis depicts God as a Lion in his fictional works The Chronicles of Narnia. This Lion, Aslan, is the one that will make right all that is wrong. He is fierce but kind. He can be trusted. He is powerful but only uses his power for good. I’d approach him with my head bowed acknowledging my shortcomings. This is respect. This is fear.
So many in our world today have never heard God loves them. What Good News this is!! When we learn God has provided a way of forgiveness and redemption we are humbled and grateful. We want to serve God out of our gratitude. No matter what I do for God I can never fully repay what He has done for me. I’m grateful. I’m humbled and I seek to obey.
The one who fears God has been given a holy understanding and this is the beginning of wisdom, the kind that only comes from God. Can you approach God today and experience the kind of fear you have for God?