Do you remember the first time you rode a roller coaster, saw the mountains, kissed another person, ate the best burger, held your child? There is an AWE in first experiences. They sweep you away with emotion and you swear your life will never be the same. I want you to imagine for a moment feeling that same kind of excitement over your revelation of God. For some of you the feeling of awe never came; for some it is long-passed. What would it look like for you to have excitement/emotion over who God is?
You may be sitting there asking, does who God is in his character really matter for my daily life? The answer is yes, but I want to explain. Here is a problem that plagues us all: We don’t fully understand who we are and why we exist. Let me ask you:
- Are you a closet workaholic? Do you claim not to be too busy or say that your boundaries are in place when really you go on doing so much to find importance?
- Do you ever evaluate your life and feel down about what you are actually doing or getting done? Do you feel like you are trapped in a mediocre life?
- How about your legacy—are you worried you are not having the type of impact you hoped to have on your kids or grandkids?
All of these may feel like an identity or impact problem, but I think they stem from something entirely different. I think they are (what Paul David Tripp calls) an “Awe Amnesia.” This means that you lack a right and “Awe-filled” perspective of who God is and therefore end up with a relational and spiritually detrimental problem.
Get this right off the bat: Only awe for God will keep your impact and self-image in its rightful place. A good view of God (theology) doesn’t just define who God is, but it defines who we are as his children. It is not just that God is awesome in glory, but that God is all that he is for you (by grace):
“He is awesome in power for us. He is awesome in sovereignty for us. He is awesome in mercy for us. He is awesome in wisdom for us. He is awesome in love for us. He is awesome in holiness for us. He is awesome in patience for us. He is awesome in faithfulness for us. He is awesome in grace for us. What he is, he is for us!” [Tripp, Awe, pg 173.]
So the fact that God is who is gives me the identity I need to be a dad, husband, pastor, man and friend. I don’t have to look anywhere else for identity or impact; I need to look to God and be filled with awe to discover my purpose and potential. A truth of life: You and I will be in awe of what we believe will give us life (identity, meaning, purpose, pleasure, etc.). So if we have what Tripp called “Awe amnesia” and forget who God is, we lose sight of who we are. Then we search the earth for something we’ve already been given from heaven.
Maybe you’re missing a little awe in your life; perhaps you’ve lost a right view of who God is and why it matters to you. Remember, He is who He is for you, by Grace. So embrace Christ and return the awe of God back to your life.