I have grown up in church all my life or at least until now and I definitely learned about fearing God. I not only learned how to fear Him, but I learned how to be afraid of Him. It’s really difficult to have a relationship with someone when they keep running away from you. Imagine if you would try to talk to your spouse, children or a friend and every time you tried to talk to them they ran away from you. It would be very difficult to have any kind of relationship with them.
I learned how to fear God as well as seeing Him as distant and aloof. It was difficult to imagine a God who was really interested in my daily life other than watching me blow it all the time. I may have been taught about the Love of God, but I don’t know if anyone teaching me understood it either. I saw God as critical and unfair. I asked questions like, “Why did you make ugly, poor, born in this town?” I could go on and on looking for justifications of why I was such a bad person. Fortunately God understood and patiently led me to truth.
There are many that are stuck in this belief and even though the Bible says countless times that God wants a relationship with us, they think we’re being disrespectful if we become too familiar with Him. The legalistic attitude that God wants me to grovel and crawl to Him in constant unworthiness and shame is totally unscriptural. One of the main reason religious leaders do this is because it gives them control over people. God wants us to recognize who He is in all His Glory and Power and then realize this Almighty God wants a close, familiar relationship with us. Wow! He wants us to know everything about Him. And we think how awesome it would be to stand next to a famous star, political figure or some other person of fame.
This is the part that is really awesome to me. We get to call Him Father, but to go another step into the amazing is we get to call Him Abba Father. “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." Romans 8:15 Abba Father is another way of saying “Papa or Daddy” in our modern language. Remember that it’s only because if Jesus that we are able to do this. Jesus, through His Blood and sacrifice gives us this privilege. If you haven’t accepted Jesus into your heart and life you cannot share in this.
I have 3 sons and sometimes they call me Papa. I love it because it is a term of endearment. If you are a child of God you have the privilege to call Him Papa, not because of anything you have done, but because Jesus gave you that privilege.