How can we fear God and also love Him at the same time? Isn't that a contradiction? I suppose I mainly fear God and try to do things that I think will please Him, but I know the Bible also tells us to love Him, and I have a hard time doing that.
Yes, the Bible’s command to fear God and yet also love Him may seem like a contradiction at first—but once you understand what the Bible actually means, the contradiction goes away.
Let me explain. It’s true that the Bible repeatedly tells us to fear God: “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him” (Psalm 33:8). But what does it mean by “fear”? We usually fear something (such as a vicious dog or a violent storm) when we expect it to harm us. In other words, we fear something that has no concern for us, and is a source of constant danger to us.
But that isn’t what God is like! God created us, and He also loves us—and the proof is that He sent His only Son into the world to die for our sins. Would He have done this if He hated us? No, of course not. The Bible says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Stop right now and thank God for loving you and sending His Son to die for you.
To fear God is not to shrink back from Him in terror. To fear God is to have a deep reverence for Him, and to stand in awe at His holiness and majesty and power and love. Only then will we love and serve and worship Him as we should.