A GOOD BLEND OF LOVE AND FEAR!
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There are two very important elements of human relationships which need to be present to make a success of it, and these are Love and Fear. A right proportion of these two elements is critical to getting the joy, peace, progress and many other benefits derivable from the interaction of two or more people. A wife needs to love and fear her husband and so also must the husband do so to his wife. Love shows in caring for, protecting, nourishing and defending each other in all situations, but this alone is not all there is, there must also be fear that shows in avoiding anything that could hurt the other person physically or emotionally.
Love brings the couple to the altar to make a solemn vow of marriage to each other before God, but fear of breaking that covenant keeps them from cheating each other, and heading to the divorce court to ask for dissolution when the storms arise. If there will be a successful marriage, these two elements must be present in both spouses in the right proportions. A situation where love is professed or perhaps acted, but without an accompanying fear is as undesirable and dangerous as when there is a flip and it is all fear and no love. This is also true for business, cultural, social and all other forms of human relationships.
Certainly, getting the right proportions is critical to obtaining a good blend in many aspects of life as we have seen in the few examples cited. Furthermore, it is also true that man must relate with God, his creator, and there must also exist in right proportions the great elements of love and fear. It is the height of foolishness for men to live in this world and never think of God their creator. Psalm 14 verse 1 says, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” The atheist’s position is a regrettable one for he denies what he can never disprove – the existence of an almighty and sovereign God, Jehovah his creator. Though he may not realize it, he has a relationship with God which is devoid of love and fear. And then someone can say, “I am not an atheist, I believe in God but I do not believe in Jesus Christ”, these are the people called unbelievers. Again, just like the atheist, these people deny what they can never disprove – the Lordship of Jesus Christ as the express image of God (Colossians 1:15-20), and the salvation from sin He provided by His atoning death and the new life He gives to those who believe in Him by His resurrection power. Once again we have that these unbelievers try to relate with God but lack the elements of love and fear essential to believe God’s word about His son Jesus Christ. We may be correct to say that such people have no relationship with God at all, for there is no agreement or covenant they have with God. Unfortunately, their great folly is in the fact that though they can choose to deny God in this world, they cannot deny Him after this world and would be left to share the eternal damnation and agony with Satan in hell. Are you one of such as I have described, today you have heard this word, do not harden your heart to continue in your unbelief and sins, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.
The last note I must now make about the absolute importance of getting the right proportion of love and fear for a good blend, is the manner of relationship those who believe in Jesus Christ must have with God. It takes love for God and fear of Him for anyone to live a godly, righteous and holy life in this present world and to make it to heaven after this world. There are numerous scripture verses in the Holy Bible which admonishes everyone to love and fear God. When our Lord Jesus Christ was asked what God’s greatest command for man was, He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22: 36-37). When we love God, we place Him first in our lives and adore Him above all other things, peoples or spirits. When we love God, we keep back no part of ourselves, but willingly and totally surrender ourselves to Him. When we love God, we remain faithful to Him at all times, whether in good or bad. We detest sin and Satan with perfect hatred when we love God and we obey God’s commandment wholeheartedly (John 15:10). This love is the offspring of a realization that God loves us so much and gave His all to save us and never leaves us, but cares for us (John 3:16). However, we must have the fear of God also, to have a good relationship with God. It is written, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. We hold God in solemn awe when we fear Him. We honor and respect God just like children honor their parents, because we fear Him. The fear of the Lord keeps us from straying out of the way of life unto destruction (Proverbs 14:27).
Our Lord Jesus says to all His followers, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). We will live with the realization that He is our judge to whom we must render the account of the life we lived here when we fear God. Apostle Paul wrote about this when he said, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:10-11). We don’t live and relate with God casually or take His mercy for granted because we know He is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:28-29) and that it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31), hence we serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
Let me conclude this subject by pointing out the examples of the life of two Bible characters whose relationship with God had a proper blend of love and fear and is a model for us to emulate. Joseph the son Jacob is our first example. He loved God from childhood and stood out from the rest of his brothers. He did not join his brothers to do what was wrong, but would report their mischief to his parents, which made his brothers hate him. They eventually plotted and sold him off into slavery in Egypt and there again his love and fear of God kept him loyal to his faith and truthfulness. For days his master’s wife sought to have sex with him, but Joseph would never consent. Then the day came when she forcefully held him demanding him to lie with her, but Joseph loved God too much to sin and feared God too much to have sex with his master Potiphar’s wife. He said to her, “How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). He rather chose to run out of the house naked, abandoning his clothes to which Potiphar’s wife held unto, than give in to her demand.
Daniel, our second example, also loved and feared God and that kept him living an upright life in Babylon. He had the privilege of eating the king’s food but would not taste it as long as he knew it was food offered to idols which God forbade (Daniel 1:8). As chief administrator of the Babylonian empire, he would have taken bribes to pervert justice or sign off fraudulent contracts or loot the treasury to enrich himself, but he held unto his integrity for just the reason that he loved and feared God (Daniel 6:1-5). He loved God so much that he would not cease to pray when a law had been passed to proscribe prayers in the land of Babylon. He feared God more than he feared the lions of King Darius the Mede. There are many more examples I can cite but I suppose these two serve to show us that it takes a proper blend of love and fear of God to be a true and faithful Christian.
There are so many Christians today who profess their love for God and may speak so much about God or even do so much for Him, yet they lack the fear of God. When the chips are down, in the closet where no one sees them, they do not mind committing sin. They would be ready to march along with the band of lovers of God, but when the challenge to give up the world comes, they falter and fall back because they fear the scorn of the world more than they fear God. This is a regrettable position for anyone to be in. On the other hand, there are those who lack the love for God but fear Him. They are afraid of God’s judgment and so they do right. They do not want to go to hell, but they are not excited about going to heaven either. There is a deep but secret love of the ways of the world for which they feel inhibited by religion. They begrudge God and feel He never allowed them to enjoy their lives. Therefore though they may never miss attending Church services, yet their heart is not perfect towards God. This is a bad condition to be in and you need to recommit yourself to the Lord and have a proper understanding of who God is, what He has done for you and what He requires of you.
It takes a good blend of love and fear of God for us to have the right relationship with Him. Consider what God says here, “A son honours his father, and a servant his master, where is my honour? And if I am a master, where is my fear? Says the LORD of hosts unto you” (Malachi 1:6a). Are you indicted by this question? Change your casual and disrespectful attitude towards God. There are great blessings for those who love God and fear God. God says, “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name” (Psalm 91:14). If you love God, you are sure to have His deliverance and protection. Psalm 34 verse 9 declares, “O fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack”. You can be sure of God’s abundant provisions for you if you fear Him.
Dear friend, love and fear God from now and for the rest of your life you shall have the joy of intimacy with. May God imprint these words in our hearts and bless us by it in Jesus Christ name. Amen.
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