Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Fear Joined with Love

This is a mystery.

A Framework for Faith/Spiritual Practice

Wherefore, my dearest brethren, let us pray to our God Himself, everywhere present and invisible, that either faith's fear of Him, or charity which knows no fall, may endure in us; and may this fear joined to charity make us wise in all things...

  - Columbanus, Sermon I (Irish, 7th century)

...unite my heart to fear your name.

  -Psalm 86.11

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

  - 1 John 4.18

At first these two texts may seem to be contradictory. The psalmist pleads with God to bring all the affections of his heart together in fearing Him; John calls us to love God, saying that perfect love casts out all fear. Who's right?

Both are. As I have argued many times before in this column, there's no escaping the many Biblical injunctions and reasons for fearing God. At the same time, loving Him with all our soul and strength is the first great commandment.

When we fear God, as we should, we walk in obedience to Him, because we know Who He is and what He is capable of, and we know ourselves and what we deserve. But as we walk in obedience to Him we experience mercy and grace - which we have no reason to expect - and, as we do, fear blossoms into love.

Perfect love casts out fear; but we will not love God perfectly until we see Jesus face to face and are perfected in glory like Him. In the meantime, our imperfect love must be joined with the fear of God, so that we will pursue holiness as we ought (2 Cor. 7.1) and call others to escape the wrath the come.

This is a mystery. Let us not err on the side of fearing God without loving Him or loving God without fearing Him. Both of these affections are necessary and can help us to know the wisdom of God for serving Him in this world.

We cultivate the fear of God through meditation and repentance; we nurture love for God in adoration and thanksgiving. Each is important to help us realize increasing fullness in our relationship with our Father.

Make this a day of concentrating on joining fear with love in your walk with the Lord.

Today at The Fellowship of Ailbe

ReVision - Has the Church come to a defining moment? If so, what does this mean?

In the Gates - The Law of God makes known the character of God, as we shall see all this week.

Grow, Serve, Equip - We're offering courses of personal instruction and mentoring in spiritual growth, evangelism training, worship, preaching, and shepherding. Check out our resources page and write me if you have questions.

Bookstore - We have added new titles to the bookstore, so if you haven't been there lately, this would be a good time to visit - and get your copy of The Legacy of Patrick.

Thank you for your prayers and generous support of our ministry.

T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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