The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom... - Psalm 111:10a
This is the verse that everyone quotes when we start talking about fearing God. But how many of us truly grasp what the psalmist is saying in this one verse. I think that too often people are under the impression that they should fear God in a cowering sort of way. Like a puppy flinching at a raised newspaper. But I don't believe that's the message here at all. While it's true we should be afraid if God ever decided to raise His hand against us, that shouldn't be the reason that we obey Him. We should obey Him because we love Him and we respect Him. We need to have a fearful respect, like you would have for any authority figure that you truly trusted. One passage that seemed to illustrate this concept was Nahum 1:2-6 (I won't put it here because it is so long). But what stood out to me even more was the note on this passage in my Scofield Study Bible - "The great ethical lesson of Nahum is that the character of God makes Him not only "slow to anger" (v. 3) and a refuge to those who trust Him (v. 7), but also one who "will not at all aquit the wicked" (v. 3). He can be "just and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus" (Rom. 3:26), but only because His holy law has been vindicated in the cross." That basically sums it up to me. He despises our wickedness and our sins, but because of the cross our debt has been paid. We needn't fear His wrath when we fail - and we will fail. His wrath has already been poured out. When Christ took our sins upon Himself and died for us on the cross.
"Till on that cross, as Jesus died; The wrath of God, was satisfied; For every sin, on Him was laid; Here in the death of Christ, I live." - In Christ Alone by Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend
And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, ear me, that this people may know that thou art the lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God. - I Kings 18:36-39
Our fear of God should lead us to worship like this. We should be on our knees before the God of the universe simply acknowledging His power and reign. He is the one true God, and should be worshiped as such. Not with hearts held back or knees unbent. He deserves our all.