“With progress, faith becomes the fear of God”  

Fr. Dimitru Staniloae

Ponder this point––It is important: Faith isn’t born of fear of God. Fear of God develops from faith.

Fr. Dimitru Staniloae says,

Faith which hasn’t reached fear or isn’t accompanied from the beginning by fear hasn’t gained a high enough degree of efficiency to lead to action.

What is meant by fear of God?  After all, God is a loving God.  Earlier we talked about our fear of the things of this world and the anxiety we have as a result of these worldly fears.  Fr. Dimitru points out that this fear must be counteracted with a greater fear, the fear of God.  This is a fear, not of an immediate danger, but of a future one.

Fr. Dimitru says,

The fear of God is a fear of His judgement which will seal our fate forever; it is the fear of the last judgement and of the tortures of an eternal, non-authenic, unfulfilled existence.

Orthodox Christians are encouraged at the appropriate time of their spiritual growth to meditate unceasingly on the Last Judgment to increase the Fear of God to aid us in the avoidance of sin.  It is not death that we focus on, but the Judgment that follows death.

Fr. Dimitru says,

The thought of death and of the Judgment makes our thought of God, where the strengthening of faith began, more frequent, thus increasing inner meditation.  Or the fear and the thought of death are nothing but the thought of God, associated with the consciousness of personal sins and with the dread of judgment.

We need to come to God at first based on love and His forgiving compassion.  Then as our faith grows we will develop the proper fear of God and then we can emphasize it in our spiritual practice.