I've been mulling over this topic for a while now and just wanted to address something I've seen commented a few times elsewhere... Basically, it's you shouldn't do anything or believe anything out of Fear. While I agree with the sentiment I think there is a consideration not being viewed by some people who may hold that sentiment as an excuse not to consider Christ.
I sometimes ask the question "What if you're wrong?" when speaking to others about religious beliefs, or lack thereof... And just because I ask other people that question doesn't mean I don't ask myself.. I do ask myself "what if I'm wrong" all the time, for the purpose of what I believe about God to what I believe about others, myself, how I act, live my life and more... Not necessarily because I think I'm wrong in the first place but more because I think that question can temper action in a good way as well as guide a decision making process in the right direction... I am in no way saying that you should make any decision based solely out of fear and I'm quite sure most, if not all, people who ask that question aren't encouraging anyone otherwise. Many scriptures - including 1 John 4:18 - tell us not to fear many times but it is always speaking about actually fear not reverence and is speaking of others can do, harm coming on us, circumstance, etc. those scriptures are telling us, God's Got This (borrowed from Teri-Lyn) so there's no need to fear anything else!
The previous paragraph being a preface, I would like to bring your attention to some facts about fear being a good thing... The Bible says it is... But not fear as we think of it today, more like reverence for God:
- Philippians 2:12 says because you obey God whether in the presence of an authority (in this case Paul) or not you should "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." This is in no way saying interpret the Scripture how you see fit and then you're saved. It's written to people who were shown "the way" and who had obeyed the gospel already and it's telling them to continue in that direction making their own decision about possible "grey areas" or "small matters" remembering to take God into consideration or with reverence to God.
- 1 Peter 2:17 Commands us to "Honor all people, Love Brotherhood, Fear the Lord and Honor the King!" So we need to do those things... Honor everyone - so even when they don't deserve it, respect and honor people... Love relationship - Brotherhood in this instance is talking about the Christian family of believers, love your church, pastors and fellow believers. Fear the Lord - here it is again, reverence God, His commands and opinions... No, not every subject is written about in the bible, eg. drugs, but we do have enough written about how to make Godly decisions that we should be able to figure out His opinion, eg. your body is His temple would most likely guide you away from drugs that would harm that temple. And in cases where His opinion may not be clear "Godly fear or reverence" would lead us on the safe side and take care of that.
- Hebrews 5:7 tells us about a man who's prayers were answered and he was saved because of his Godly fear... I think that one is pretty self explanatory, if it holds potential to get my prayer answers and/or save me, I'm doing it!
- 1 Peter 3:15 sort of touches on what I was talking about earlier, we need to also have the fear of the Lord when we are dealing with others, saved or not, we have the potential to effect their hearts and lives so we need to not only consider the "Golden Rule" but consider the "God Rule," how He would want us to treat them, love them, answer their questions, etc.
- Hebrews 12:28 makes sure we know that the fear of the Lord continues even after we become Christ followers... It's not "once saved, always saved" or "God loves me the way I am so I don't have to change anything about my lifestyle..." In fact, it's just the opposite, because we are Christ's followers and we are going to be with Him in heaven someday we must continue our walk with Him allowing Godly fear to guide our steps.
- Lastly, Revelation 19:5 states that even in Heaven there is the Fear of the Lord because the people who feared the Lord are there... If it's important enough to be mentioned in Heaven I should have it exhibited in my own life.