There is no fear in love.
I have admitted this before, but will do so again: I have always been afraid of the dark. It is irrational, of course (as are many fears). Yet it is reality for me. Simply put, I do not like total dark. My earliest memories confirm for me that I have always been this way. I am confident (sort of) that I am not alone in this.
Scripture speaks often about fear. In fact, just last night (it is Thursday morning as I write this) we had a brief discussion about fear. God intends that we approach him in fear. But the fear that he requires of us is not the same fear that we had when we were children. Let me explain: many of us came to Christ because we were afraid of the alternative. We reached a point in life where we realized that we were accountable for our sins. We understood enough to know that submission to God was our only hope to avoid the fires of hell. Being afraid of hell, we submitted our lives to God and became Christians. This is a path that many, many of us took.
Yet this is not the fear that God desires from us. Although it continues to be normal and natural that we fear “what may happen to us otherwise,” what God truly desires is reverence. He demands from us the respect and honor that he and he alone deserves because of who he is. To fear God, then, is to recognize him as the only true and living God. It is to surrender to his leading. It is to set aside the life we lived before for the sake of the far better life that God offers—and the promise of the life to come.