“Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord. “Should you not tremble in my presence?” (Jer. 5:22)

Love and fear. Is it possible for both to inhabit healthy relationships?

I loved my parents but also feared them. I loved them because they brought me into the world and cared for my needs. They fed me when I was hungry. When I had colic, they massaged my stomach. When I contracted German measles, they worried more about my getting well than their getting sick.

But as an older child, I feared them. They weren’t satisfied when I strayed into actions or attitudes contrary to what they believed appropriate. They made rules, and I lived by them or was disciplined. Parents also have the law on their side.

God dwelled among His Old Testament people. They professed to love Him but weren’t demonstrating it through actions. God called them to account, pronounced their actions foolish, and then gave them a few reminders why they should fear Him. He made the ocean, set its boundaries, and brought the rain, making bountiful harvests possible.

Interaction with God involves both love and fear. We love God because He first loved us. When we’re connected to Him through faith in Christ, our love grows stronger. But healthy love incorporates an element of fear. Although God won’t remove His love, we should tremble in His presence and respect His position. We are here by His decree. Every breath we take is an expression of His love.

Learn to enjoy God’s presence, while respecting His power.

Martin Wiles loves using his writing to help others move further in their journey toward spiritual maturity.