(Proverbs 9:10 KJV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
I am wondering if the “fear” (3374) of the Lord shares a characteristic with the Greek agape. Both are foundational and mentioned often, but what I am talking about is that both are a choice, not an emotion. Both are concepts that have been polluted by our culture.
When people think of love they tend to be dominated by the romantic, Hollywood meaning of the word. Think of the poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning which begins “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” It is a beautiful poem full of beautiful ideas but there is no mention of the things you find in I Corinthians 13.
We have the same thing happening to our understanding of fear. We have come to define fear as something we experience at a noise in the night after we have seen a Freddy Krueger movie. It is a craven, bone rotting chill that crumbles our inner sense of right. That is totally opposed to the fear of God based on reverence and awe at His majesty.
So? We chose to love. We chose to fear. Emotions are wonderful but don’t let them dominate you.