“And I say to you, ‘My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!’ ” (Luke 12:4-5).
In this passage, Jesus gives fear a place of honor—He makes it one of the strongest motivations for godly living. So, we ask the question: Which is it? Should we fear God or just love Him?
The definitions of fear show us that it can mean different things, depending on the level of fear we are talking about.
If our fear causes us to shrink away from God so that we really want nothing to do with Him, we have taken it to a level that was never intended in scripture. In fact, one of the purposes of fear is to drive us closer to God and to develop a greater desire to please Him.
If, however, our fear leads us to have a respect for God and a deep reverence for Him, we will be at a healthy level of fear that allows us to develop a closer and more personal relationship with Him.