(Proverbs 1:7 KJV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
I often hear that love is stronger than hate. Is love stronger than “fear” (3374)? Is it possible to really love God without fearing Him? Although the context here is “knowledge” (1847) we are seeing a formula that is repeated several times in Proverbs. A healthy fear of God is the basis for important spiritual growth. I emphasize, “healthy”. This is not the fear that holds a frog motionless while the snake slowly puts its mouth around it. This is not the fear of the refugee creeping through barbed wire on a border. This is the fear that is based on a desire not to offend a loving parent, the fear that keeps us from doing something stupid, even when no one is watching.
God is love. We know that because the Bible tells us so. He is also holy and His wrath burns toward those who defy Him. He also wants us to serve Him out of the love of our hearts. Sometimes it is fear which makes us aware of His love. My wife still remembers a movie called “Thief in the Night” and reading The Late, Great Planet Earth. The fear instilled by those tools brought her to love the God of the universe.
So? Don’t turn into a bowl of quivering jelly but be aware that the God of love is also an awesome being whose wrath is only held in check by His love.