“Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear” (1 Peter 1:17).
These words of the holy Apostle Peter have a double basis: heavenly inspiration and personal experience. Through heavenly inspiration, the simple fisherman became a teacher of the people, a pillar of the Faith and a mighty miracle worker. Through personal experience, Saint Peter acknowledged that all his strength and wisdom were from God, and, because of that, he knew the need to have the fear of God in himself. No other fear except the fear of God.
A madman takes fright when the lightning merely flashes and the thunder cracks, but a wise man stands in the fear of God every day and every hour. The Creator of the thunder and lightning is more awesome than either, and He does not just appear before you from time to time as do thunder and lightning but is with you unceasingly and never separates Himself from you. Therefore it is not enough to feel the fear of God only from time to time, but we must breathe it in with every breath. The fear of God is the fresh ozone in the suffocating air of our souls. This ozone brings purification and lightness, and a sweet fragrance and health. Until he had become established in the fear of God, St. Peter was merely Peter and not an Apostle, a hero, a teacher of the people, and a worker of miracles (wonders).
Oh, my brethren, let us not make merry before the time of harvest. This life of ours is not the harvest but the time of sowing, in toil, sweat, and fear. The farmer lives in trepidation until he has gathered the crop from his field. Let us also leave our merrymaking until the day of harvest, for now, is the season of toil and fear. Shall I be saved? That question should torment each of us, just as the question: ‘Shall I reap the fruit of my labor from the field?’, torments the farmer. The farmer labors and waits in trepidation every day. Let us also labor and wait in fear for the whole season of our sojourn here on this earth.
O Lord Who art fearful and mighty upholds us in Thy fear. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen. (The Prologue from Ochrid)