Some people say that fear is irrational. Sometimes it is. I think that a fear of spiders is irrational (although I might join the fearful if the spider was a tarantula)!
Often we fear things that we really should not fear. Sometimes we do not fear what we should. Maybe that is where the irrationality comes in.
On one occasion the Lord Jesus said to his disciples: ‘be not afraid of them that kill the body … but have no more that they can do. But … fear him, [who] hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him‘ (Luke 12: 4 – 5). The Lord was underlining the overriding importance of fearing God.
Fearing God does not get a good press nowadays. Among those who would still admit to believing in God, many like a god who is manageable – one who neither makes too many demands of them nor makes them feel uncomfortable. A god who allows them to do what they want.
This is not the God of the Bible.
The God of the Bible is ‘over all, God blessed forever‘ (Romans 9: 5); He is ‘the Almighty God‘ (Genesis 17: 1); He is ‘holy‘ (Isaiah 6: 3); He is ‘the God of glory‘ (Acts 7: 2). He is greater than anyone we can imagine.
Surprisingly, the Bible also says that ‘God is love‘ (1 John 4: 8). This is something that we find hard to grasp. How can a God to be feared be a loving God? Think of it this way. I never had any doubt that my parents loved me but from time to time as a child, I was afraid of them. Why? Too often, I was disobedient or did something wrong.
When the Bible says that God is ‘greatly to be feared‘ (Psalm 89: 7), it is no wonder, because we all fail to measure up: ‘all have sinned and come short of the glory of God‘ (Romans 3: 23). What is worse: ‘every one of us shall give account of himself to God‘ (Romans 14: 12). We should be fearful of the consequences of our sin.
That is where the gospel comes in. God’s love can deal with our fear: ‘God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us‘ (Romans 5: 8).
‘Perfect love casts out fear‘ (1 John 4: 18).
God has made the ‘giant leap’ – will you take the ‘small step’?