Deut 10:12 … what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
Paradox – Fear and Love
Fear is a primitive emotion. At its root, we want to run or fight. Our body reacts to fear to energize our body for a defense to fight or run away. However, we are told to be a healthy Christian, we are to fear God. While we cannot run away from God and we will one day stand before Him there is a reason we should have fear. Some would say the word fear in the Old Testament is today interpret respect, awe. Proverb 1:7 says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Not respect or awe, but fear. We will all stand before God in judgment. Many will enter heaven but many will also be cast into an eternal hell by God. We need to fear, respect, awe, obey Him.
Love is also a primitive emotion. It is the opposite of fear. We run to and want to be with someone we love. God is love and has provided His only Son that came as a child to die for us. God provided a way to cleanse our hearts from bondage and pain of sin and to share His peace. We have a reason to love God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit as their blessing helps us each day.
Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
Luke 12:4-5 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.
So how do FEAR and LOVE work together?
As a child, if we did not have fear of punishment or the authority of the parents we would never learn to be obedient. If we never learned to love them we would be so self-centered we would never learn to serve and help others. It is the balance of love and fear that produces a well balanced and mature person. A healthy family has the paradox of Fear and Love to develop healthy productive caring children. I am not talking about abuse, but a fear that brings respect and obedience.
In my devotions this week I came across a Psalm that reflects both primitive emotions.
Psalms 103 (Fear and Love)
(Love in green, Fear in red)
Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
Do you have a healthy fear and respect toward God? Do you love God? Get into God’s word and a good church to learn who you should fear and obey, but also who you should love and serve. You will be most happy.
Let FEAR and LOVE toward God make your lightnside glow bright