I fear God (which is what the Bible says we ought to do, doesn't it?). But I can't say that I love God. After all, how can you love someone if you're afraid of what they might do to you?


Yes, the Bible does tell us both to fear God and also to love Him. I know this sounds like a contradiction, because you’re right: On a human level it’s very hard to love someone if you’re afraid they’re going to hurt or even kill you.

The key, however, is to realize who God is and what He is like. On one hand, He is the awesome, holy, all-powerful God who created the heavens and the earth. He is far greater than anything (or anyone) we can ever imagine; the Bible calls Him “the high and lofty One … who lives forever, whose name is holy” (Isaiah 57:15). This is why God is worthy of our respect — and even our wonder and awe.

But God is also our loving Heavenly Father. He not only created the world, but He also created us — and the reason is because He loves us and wants to have fellowship with us. He loves us so much that He sent His only Son into the world to give His life for us. 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). The Bible also says, “perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).

Just as we can both respect and love our earthly fathers, so we can both respect and love our Heavenly Father. Don’t turn away from God’s love, but receive His love by opening your heart and life to Jesus Christ.