When I was a kid, I had a really good friend named Ian. As we were playing one day, he blurted out something that I’ll never forget. He said, “Bobby, you know what? My grandma is afraid of God.” I said “She’s what?” so he repeated, “She’s afraid of God.” At that time, I remember thinking “Why would somebody be afraid of God?”… and it stuck with me for years. However, as I grew older, I started to understand that the statement he made didn’t mean that his grandmother was terrified of the Lord, but rather that she revered and honored Him. When I reframed his words through the lens of maturity, I understood that what he was saying about her actually implied that she was a strong and courageous believer, not someone who was fearful. You see, there’s a built-in tension where it comes to having a deep relationship with Jesus, because being anchored in Him demands that we be secure in our identity as His children while also maintaining a healthy respect for His deity. In other words, it means that we are at peace in His presence while knowing that He is holy, mighty, and too great for our minds to comprehend. This is the position from which bold faith emerges, and it’s the state of heart from which we can do great things for the Kingdom of God!
My friend, it’s right to fear your Creator! Since He stands outside of time and holds the whole world — as well as your very soul — in His Hands, He is worthy of adoration, awe, and respect. However, reverencing His majesty is balanced by experiencing the reality of his tender loving care. Because you are His child, He sees you through the lens of Jesus, and you’ve inherited His righteousness, been adopted into His family, and received all the privileges that belong to members of His Household. This means that you can relax, let your hair down, and put your feet up in His presence, even as you recognize His deity and acknowledge Him as the source of all authority. Though God is incomprehensibly glorious, He invites you to approach Him tenderly and intimately, and it’s from this place of healthy fear and prevailing peace that bold faith is born!