Mary said in Luke 1:50, “His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.” The question begs: What does it mean to fear God? Some people believe that to fear God is to respect God. While respect is definitely included in the concept of fearing God, there is more to it than that. A biblical fear of God, for the believer, includes understanding how much God hates sin and fearing His discipline when we rebel against his will instead of surrendering to it.
I had a healthy fear of my father growing up. I knew that if I stepped out of line, I would be disciplined. Was my dad’s discipline motivated by love? Yes! But that didn’t make it hurt any less! 🙂 Likewise, my kids have a healthy fear of me. They know that if they are disobedient, disrespectful, or destructive, they will be disciplined. Is my discipline motivated by love? Absolutely! But does that make it hurt any less? Nope! 🙂
In the same way, we ought to have a healthy fear of God. If we step out of line, God will discipline us. Hebrews 12:6 says “…the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son…” Is God’s discipline motivated by love? Yes! But that doesn’t make it hurt any less! 🙂 As children, the fear of discipline from our parents no doubt prevented some rebellious actions. Well, the same should be true in our relationship with God. We should fear His discipline, and therefore seek to live our lives in such a way that pleases Him. Mary obeyed motivated by a healthy fear of her Heavenly Father. The same should be true of us.