“—for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God—”
“And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as “foreigners in the land.””
1 Peter 1:17, NLT
A frequent issue confronted by disciples is that between fear and faith. The question posed to us concerns “fearing God”, and trusting Him. Can intimacy be built on the foundation of fear? Deep within, we understand the need for fear, at least a reverence.
We are now sons and daughters of a loving God who just happens to be holy and just. It’s as if our faith is reduced to an uneasy contact with someone who is quite dangerous. We don’t easily find the balance; it drives us to a false sense of relationship. Often we are either resentful and cower, or we blatantly disregard Him. (Or somewhere in between.)
Yet fear has a place. Our Father reveals to us that He is not just some mere tribal deity over a specific group of people. Rather, Jehovah God is the Creator, and the Sustainer of this terrestrial ball, and everything that works itself out in the here-and-now. We are to fear, but with a legitimate fear. He is a loving God who happens to hate sin and iniquity. These things continue to destroy His creation. It defiles all that is right and perfect. He would not be just, or right to overlook sin.
I am certain that He loves me with a “crazy-love”. His affection for me pushes the boundaries of anything logical. He is not reasonable with His intense love. He directed His Son to come for me, and lift me out of my ugliness, sinfulness and perversity. His love goes beyond anything rational. But I fear Him. It is a fear that I might offend Him and somehow harm His kingdom. (That is a legitimate possibility, but it also strengthens me to obey Him.)
So, do I fear or do I love? I think the wrestling with this will work itself into me. It is fear and love combined, worked into my heart like yeast is worked in bread dough. There will be a resulting effect. I have a faith that should grow this up. It needs to advance as I mature in Him. I choose to love Him fiercely, and fear Him conclusively.