APPLICATION | Psalm 97 - The Righteous Will Rejoice
We are a society that has lost its sense of awe. Rapid advances in science and technology have quickly made mundane what once filled us with wonder. The latest generations were born into a world where men had already walked on the moon, the USSR had already collapsed, cell phones were already prolific, the internet was already in nearly every home, computers were commonplace in the classroom, and so on. We now view the natural world through a screen. Looking up at the night sky is so blasé when you can stand on the surface of Mars via Virtual Reality. We are a society that has lost its sense of awe.
Somewhere in the process of losing our sense of awe in the physical world, we lost it where we need it the most, with God. Without true awe of God, we as Christians and the church find ourselves distracted and sidetracked from what matters most. In an article titled “Awe Puts Us in Our Place” author Paul Tripp identifies several areas where the awe of God puts things into proper perspective. This isn’t just for pastors but each member of a local church. Awe of God isn’t just good, it’s necessary and even obligatory because of the nature of God. Here are the things that Tripp mentions in his article.
- Awe of God puts theology in its proper place.
- Awe of God puts the ministry strategies of the church in their proper place.
- Awe of God puts ministry gifts and experience in their proper place.
- Awe of God puts our music and liturgy in its proper place.
- Awe of God puts our buildings and property in their proper place.
- Awe of God puts our history and traditions in their proper place.
If First Baptist is to make disciples of all nations by CONNECTING people to God by faith in Jesus and uniting them to each other, as we GROW together in faith and maturity in Christ, leading us to SERVE like Jesus in our church, our city, and the nations, then we must do it with a proper sense of awe of our majestic and glorious God.
- Have you unwittingly become numb in your awe of God?
- Have you become too busy with other majesties to be impressed with God?
- Have you reserved your sense of awe just for times of worship or does it extend into all aspects of your life and work?
- What idols have robbed you of your sense of awe of God?
- We gain a sense of awe of God by looking intently at him. Are your daily habits such that you make time to look on God through Scripture, prayer, and quiet reflection?
- How can you help others better enjoy God and have a proper sense of awe?
Parents: In a related conversation, Paul Tripp stated that we as humans are wired for awe and that we find ourselves in an awe war that seeks to tear our attention, and thus our sense of awe, away from God and onto other things. Believe it or not, but your children are keenly aware of what you hold in awe. If your sense of awe is on something other than Christ, you won’t be able to mask it with church attendance. Is God awesome in your home and marriage or do other idols take his place? If you’re struggling to capture a sense of awe of God, examine your habits, priorities, and schedule. Talk with each other about struggles you may have and what steps need to be taken for you and your spouse to see God properly. Just like the awe of God put our Christian lives and activities in their proper place, it also puts our marriages and parenting in their proper place.
Think of a time when something held your child’s wonder. Perhaps it was meeting their favorite character at Disney World or seeing a movie on the big screen for the first time. It could even be something as simple as a butterfly emerging from a cocoon or fish swimming in an aquarium.
Ask: Wasn’t it great when you saw/experienced __________? What did you like the most about that? Is that something that you would want to do again?
Say: God is the greatest thing that we could ever know. You may not know him very well now, but I want to help you know him better. I’m amazed at who God is, all that he has created, and what he has done for us. I can’t wait to share more about him with you. He’s awesome!
Ask: What’s the most awesome thing you can think of? What’s the most awesome thing you’ve ever done?
Say: We use the word ‘awesome’ a lot. We say things like, “That movie was awesome!” or “That player is awesome.” Sometimes we’re so busy thinking different things are awesome that we forget that God is awesome. There are lots of ways that we can be reminded that God is awesome. We can read the Bible and pray but we can also go out and enjoy his creation.
Pick an activity with your child that allows you to interact with creation in a special way. It doesn’t have to be outdoorsy or full of bugs (all kids are different). The point is to spend time in awe of what God has created. This helps to bridge the gap between how we think of God at church and how we think of him at home and school.
Ask: Have you seen any videos lately of something that you thought was awesome? What made it awesome? When was the last time you experienced something awesome that had nothing to do with technology, sports, movies, celebrities, etc.? What was it?
Say: There’s a lot of things out there that compete for our attention. Everything is trying to be more awesome than the last. It’s easy to get caught up in all of it. If we’re not careful, we have no awe left over for God. After all, God doesn’t set records, wear the latest fashion, star in blockbuster movies, play extreme sports, or shoot basketballs off of bridges. However, who God is and what he has done is far more impressive than any of that. We just have to take the time to know God before his wonder and awe-inspiring majesty becomes real. We don’t need to be so consumed with those who are trying to impress us nor do we need to be so consumed with trying to impress others. None of that is worthy of our affections or allegiance. But God is worthy because he is supremely more majestic and awesome than we can imagine. Don’t get sidetracked by the flame of a match when you can behold the sun.
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