“All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.” (1 John 4:15–17, NLT)
The message of Jesus taught me how to both love and fear God. First he taught me about God’s love for us, by teaching us to address him in prayer as “Father” and that he “so loved the world” that he sent his son that by believing in him we could have eternal life. He teaches us that God is a perfectly loving Father. From the Bible I learn of his constant love, protection, provision, and watchfulness over our lives. I also learn to fear the Lord by never taking for granted his provision and the reality of the beautiful but fallen world we live in.
“My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God. For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:1–6, NLT)
The fear or reverence of God for who he truly is will help us to love and treasure one another. Love and fear of God will lead us to appreciation and stewardship of this life. The fear of the Lord gives me courage to live courageously. I know that when I stand before him at last my only confidence will be that I trusted Christ to forgive my sins and give me new life. None of my works will stand the judgement of God. But God so loved us that he sent his Son to save us from our sins.