The other day I was spending time with Steve, someone who has become a great friend over the last few years. Steve and I often get into conversations about theology, and primarily discipleship. During our conversation, he mentioned a book he was reading entitled, Awe: Why it Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do by Paul David Tripp.
As Steve and I continued to talk, we briefly talked through the impact of the word awe in our Christian faith and life. Awe is defined as: a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear and wonder. After leaving Steve’s office I began to think about how awe is so much a part of my life and how much power true awe can have. I am in constant awe of God, finding it hard to grasp what He has created and how He created me to operate with purpose within His creation. Think about this for a second – God created the world and all that we are able to see, touch and enjoy, and within this creation He created you and me. Not only does He want us to enjoy this spectacular world but wants us to play a part in the opportunity to help transform all who live in it with us. To you and me, with all of our pain, mistakes and brokenness, God Himself says, “Let’s go change the world together!” In my opinion that is awe inspiring! When my awe, ultimately lies in the love of God, it does three things to me:
- Awe Moves Me Toward Awareness. It’s the things I am in awe/fear of that I become most aware of. I can remember when I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time, it was truly awe inspiring. I sat there, for what seemed like hours, amazed at what I was looking at and having a hard time coming to terms with it. It’s these types of moments that unfold in front of us where every part of us is affected – our emotions, our minds, our bodies – and the impact is etched into our memories forever. This is God’s desire for us with Him, to be in such awe of Him that his love and presence in our life affects every piece of who we are, how we feel, how we think and how we act.
- Awe Moves Me Toward Accountability. Just as being in awe of God affects how we feel, think and act, it can also connect us to that forever. For me it is the awe of God that connects me to Him. Awe always happens when our thoughts and emotions intersect with something. It’s at that intersection where we become connected to it. Ultimately my desire is be connected to God, because when I intersect with God, I am never surprised by what God does. My awe is found in the faith and expectation of God’s greatness. I stumble most when I am in awe of my own created fears or consumed by the untold future of my story – the story I attempt to write about how I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, or whatever chapter I begin to write. This is the worst level of accountability…accountable to a fear-based story that causes me to miss the awe-inspiring love of God.
- Awe Moves Me Toward Action. D.L Moody said, "I believe firmly that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride and selfishness and ambition and everything that is contrary to God's law, the Holy Spirit will fill every corner of our hearts.” Emptiness inspires awe. Awe of God turns the focus from us toward asking this question, “what do people need from me?” In Acts, “Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles” (Acts 2:43). Awe moved everyone toward action, it restored faith, confirmed strengths and changed lives. Awe has the ability to do just that.
True awe brings about indescribable moments. Louie Giglio writes and speaks about the indescribable moments in our relationship with God. That is what awe is – those moments so big in our life that we cannot describe them, we only know they move us toward action and change.
- When was the last time you were in awe of something? How did you feel?
- Take time to write out the indescribable things God has done for you that move you toward awe.