He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. (Psalms 145:19 NIV)
Recently, I’ve heard a few people question what the Bible means when it talks about fearing God. We don’t like the word fear. It reminds us of terror and that is never a good thing. I think we get stuck on the word fear because we want to see God as a God of love and we sometimes forget He is also a God of justice. The two are not mutually exclusive. When my kids were little, they obeyed me mostly because they were afraid of the consequences but they knew that I loved them. Now, they go along with our family rules out of respect and love for our family and because as they’ve matured they see that these guidelines are actually better in life. Often the fear of God in the Bible refers to being open to his wisdom and knowledge because we know he knows best. Fearing God isn’t a bad thing. It’s about living according to his will knowing it is the best choice for our lives. And think about it, wouldn’t you rather deal with someone who fears God than someone who doesn’t? I mean in the real sense of the word – in their deeds not just in their words. God doesn’t want us to walk around being terrified of him – if he did he wouldn’t have sent Jesus. He does want us to respect and honor him and his Word in our lives; a respect and reverence that transcends anything we offer to anyone else. When we offer him that, we are truly men and women of God.