The Bible says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7), not the end. I’m old enough now to understand a little about how fear has been a benefit in my life.
Fear can be either helpful or destructive, depending on whether I fear the right things.
In the beginning, I feared of my father’s belt. Since I regarded the pain of spanking to be worse than what I wanted to do, I learned obedience.
As I grew older, I began to appreciate my father’s wisdom. I saw that his discipline was for my good, not my harm, and his claim that my spanking hurt him more than me was really true. Being obedient, I no longer had to fear my father.
Some people think I should fear God, but why? Since I believe his way is always a greater benefit to me than going my own way, obedience isn’t a problem. I don’t have to worry about a spanking. When I thought he expected the impossible, I feared disappointing him, but now I know that doing my best is always well-pleasing to him. If a miracle is needed, he’ll take care of that.
If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, love is the end. As I walk with the Lord, nothing is left for me to fear.
Except for one thing.
When I pray, I tremble at the thought that he might give me what I wanted when it wasn’t what he wanted.
The fullness of our love for God leaves us no reason to cringe in fear of him. That’s because the fear is based on our anticipation of his punishment, which is impossible when our love in him is complete. — 1 John 4:18 my paraphrase