For many people the word “fear” is associated with being scared of something or someone who could hurt them. We associate fear with people or things that are much stronger and/or meaner than we are; with the expectation of getting hurt if they become upset. Therefore, we are scared or coerced into treating them the way in which they demand. However, this is not the fear of God that Christians have. Christians understand that God has awesome power. He can send devastating disasters or withhold his blessings to change people’s ways. It is not his desire to force anyone into doing his will; rather, he desires to change people’s hearts by his love instead of his power. This leaves one in awe of God with deep respect since he will not use his power to scare his people but to save them. By holding back his judgment and power, God reveals just how much he loves mankind and wants all to love him freely. God’s people understand that this is God’s love. They want to be closer to him in the same way people want to be closer to those whom they know will help them in time of need. What joy Christians have to know God’s love and that they can go to him freely to ask forgiveness without being scared of being punished for not obeying him! This is how Christians fear God, it is because they know that he will not do anything to hurt the ones he loves.
God’s Word on Fear and Love: NIV:
Luke 1:50: His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
Luke 12:32: Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
1 John 4:18: 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
-also see: Genesis 26:24, Psalm 25:14, Proverbs 9:10, Luke 1:74, Luke 12: 1-7, 2 Timothy 1:7