On my reading desk.
“The Joy of fearing God? It sounds like a contradiction in terms. One of the first times I used the expression, my listener (a Christian leader) gave a puzzled look and responded, ‘That’s an interesting combination of words.’ I suspect he was being polite as he really thought, ‘How can anyone enjoy fear? And more to the point, how can you enjoy fearing God? Christianity means a relationship with God—but how can you have a relationship with someone you fear?’
The fact that a Christian leader would respond to this concept with a puzzled look tells us something about the current state of Christianity. There was a time when committed Christians were known to be God-fearing people. This was a badge of honor. But somewhere along the way we lost it. Now the idea of fearing God, if thought of at all, seems like a relic from the past. That’s to our detriment. The fear of God is actually as relevant today as it was in bygone generations.”
And strange as it may seem, there is joy in fearing God. The Bible says God delights in those who fear Him and hold out to them the promise of blessing. Surely then, this is a subject that deserves our attention.”
The Joy of Fearing God, by Jerry Bridges
(WaterBrook Press, 1997), 1