Monday, January 28, 2013

Fear or Love of God


After I wrote my last post, "Motivated by Fear or Love" (check it out here if you missed it,, I asked myself, "What about my relationship with God?"  Do I relate to Him out of fear or love?

You can ask yourself these same questions.

1) Do I feel secure that God loves me?

2) Do I know God wants the best for me?

If you answered "yes" to #1 and #2 you may be relating to God out of love.  If you answered "no", you probably relate to God out of fear.

Steps to relate to God out of love.

1.  Understand God's LOVE
When you realize the Bible describes God's character of love, you will understand how you can love Him back.  God absolutely wants the best for you.  That doesn't mean what He thinks is best for you always matches what you think.  But, the God who created you, loves you enough to provide a way for you to have a friendship with Him.  You can relate to God with love.

When you don't understand God's love, you may try to please Him by "doing" good.  And you try to please God because you are afraid of what He might do to you, fearful He will harm you.  You may think, "If I just pray more, or if I just give more to the poor, then God will be pleased with me."  You only ask for God's mercy (not punish you when you deserve it).

2.  Understand God's GRACE 
In reality, God says you can never do enough good works to earn a relationship with Him (Ephesians 2:8-9).  It is a gift (grace).  When Jesus died on the cross, He paid the penalty for your sin.  If you believe in the Jesus of the Bible (the God of love) you too can relate to God with love.

But wait!  Doesn't the Bible say we should fear the Lord?  Yes, it does.  And sometimes the Bible says "Do not fear."  Does the Bible contradict itself?  No.  The word "fear" can be used in different ways. 

3.  Understand God's positive "FEAR"

Proverbs 14:26 and 27 says, "In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And his children will have refuge. 27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, That one may avoid the snares of death.

Here,the Bible uses the word "fear"very positively and differently than what we might think of when we use the word "fear".  We think of cowarding in the corner because we are frightened.  The word "fear" here means, "fear, terror, fearing; awesome or terrifying thing (object causing fear); fear (of God), respect, reverence, piety; revered."*   According to these verses, the result of this "fear"is "strong confidence, refuge, fountain of life, avoid the snares of death."   This is definitely not cowarding in a corner.   We should fear God, respect and revere Him, because of who he is (all-powerful, perfect, hates sin) and not for what He might do to us.

I shouldn't leave out the "Do not fear."  One of the first "Do not fear" messages (over 70 x in Bible)**, God says to Hagar regarding Ishmael (Gen. 21:17) God heard the lad crying ; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What is the matter with you, Hagar ? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.
Hagar was not to fear because God saw her and would take care of her and Ishmael (HIS LOVE, AND GRACE). 

So we've come full circle.  When we "fear" God as He deserves, we can know His love and grace and relate to Him out of love, not duty or negative, cowarding fear.

Lastly, because we can relate to God as a Father/daughter (or Father/son) relationship, I think of my girls.  I want them to obey me, but not out of duty, or obligation.  I want them to respect me, not because I demand it (which I wrongly do sometimes), but because I deserve it (probably don't sometimes, but I am their mommy).  I want them to obey me out of love and respect.  God wants the same for us.  He deserves love because HE IS GOD.  Yet, He does not demand it.  We choose to obey him, or not.  He would love our lives to reflect His love in this fearful world. 

What about you?  Do you act out of love or negative fear?
How can this change?  Remember His Love, His Grace, and positive Fear.



 Linked up with:Jolene Engle,,, Kathy at cornerstoneconfessions; A Holy Experience


  1. Just popped over from Ann's blog :)

    Such interesting thoughts. I've never really paused to think about whether I relate to God out of love .....or fear. I'll be pondering this.

    Blessings to you!

    - Kate :)

    1. Kate, Thank you for leaving a comment. You are welcome to follow my blog anytime. May we all learn to relate to God out of pure love!

  2. Stopping by from Ann's!

    I so understand relating to God through fear and feeling like I need to 'do' things to receive His love and grace. Much more difficult that way!

    Learning to trust that He has already done enough for me and loves me regardless! Thanks for the reminder.


    1. Carol,
      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a relatable comment. I'd love for you to continue to follow "Simply Spilling Hope" and share in this exciting journey of following after God's heart.


I would love to hear your comments.