12:13, "Let us hear the conclusion of
the whole matter: Fear God, and
keep his commandments:
for this is the whole duty of
The best way to explain it (as Solomon did in Proverbs) is to liken it to a father and a son. Sons fear their earthly fathers. This fear is not a terror of getting a spanking (although sometimes that does happen when we are trying to hide some wrongdoing). This fear is one of place and respect. We fear or respect our fathers because of their place and position. They are watching over us, they are feeding and clothing us, they check on us in the night to make sure that we are safe, they give their lives if necessary to protect us. In this position of authority, their word has more emphasis and power in the household than the child's (or it should).
When a child says something, it may or may not come to pass, but when dad says something it comes to pass because of his authority. That is the fear that sons have, and it is the same fear that we should have with the Lord. He watches over us, protects us, feeds and clothes us, and never leaves us or forsakes us. Therefore, we should fear Him and His authority. This is the starting point. Then, we build from that, and we keep His commandments. What are those? Christ said that they could be boiled down to 2: love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind; and love our neighbor as ourselves.
This leaves no wiggle room. We are to love the Lord with all of our being, and treat our neighbor as we would like to be treated. These are so very simple, yet so hard to fulfill in our daily lives. I fall short every day, but even when we fall short, let us never wonder WHAT it is we are supposed to be doing. I rather suspect that many know what they SHOULD be doing, but they use ignorance as a shield for their shortcomings. Let us ever earnestly contend for the faith and run our race with patience. For, if we do these things, we will not forget that we were purged from our old sins, and we shall never fall.