Not too long ago, I was reading through Matthew 10 to my older two children. When we got to verse 28, I asked them who Jesus is talking about that we should fear. They thought it was Satan. I explained that it's God alone who can destroy the body and soul; therefore we should fear Him. Elijah (always trying to rationalize) said, "Oh. I thought I was supposed to love God and fear Satan. I guess I'm supposed to fear God and love Satan." Right then, I knew I had my work cut out for me!
I tried to explain that loving God and fearing God actually go together. (They both gave me puzzled looks.) First, we turned to Proverbs 1:7, to see that fearing God is the key to wise living. Second, we discussed how none of us deserve to have eternal life, that we all deserve to receive eternal punishment in hell. (See last week's post on how God chooses some.) And without God's initiative, we can't even believe in and follow Him. So, we need to fear Him, knowing that from the beginning of time, our salvation has been completely in His hands.
I know I could not fully explain this concept of fearing God, and they don't have a full understanding of why it's a good thing to fear God. But then again, I'm not sure if I completely understand it either.
-- Joey Espinosa