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Don’t lose your awe of God

Paul Tripp » God Systematic Theology Mission Church Worldviews Evangelism Health

Before we jump into the post, read through Psalm 145.

What is the overriding worldview of this psalm? It is that every human being has been hardwired by God to live in daily awe of him. This means the deepest, most life-shaping, practical daily motivation of every human being was designed to be the awe of God. This is the calling of every person. This is the umbrella of protection over every person. This is the reality that is to define and give shape to every other reality in a person’s life. 

Now, what does this functionally look like for me? Well, it should be the thing that in some way motivates everything I do and say.

Awe of God is meant to rule every domain of my existence.

Awe of God should be the reason I do what I do with my thoughts. It should be the reason I desire what I desire.

Awe of God should be the reason I treat my wife the way I do and parent my children in the manner I do. It should shape and motivate my relationship with my extended family and neighbors 

Awe of God should be the reason I function the way I do at my job or handle my finances the way I do. It should structure the way I think about physical possession and personal position and power.

Awe of God should give direction to the way I live as a citizen of the wider community. It should form the way that I think about myself and my expectations of others.

Awe of God should lift me out of my darkest moments of discouragement and be the source of my most exuberant celebrations.

Awe of God should make me more self-aware and more mournful of my sin while it makes me more patient with and tender toward the weaknesses of others. It should give me courage I would have no other way and wisdom to know when I am out of my league.

Awe of God is meant to rule every domain of my existence.

When awe of God is absent, it is quickly replaced by our awe of ourselves.

But there is more. Awe of God must dominate my ministry, because one of the central missional gifts of the gospel of Jesus Christ is to give people back their awe of God. A human being who is not living in a functional awe of God is a profoundly disadvantaged human being. He is off the rails, trying to propel the train of his life in a meadow, and he may not even know it.

The spiritual danger here is that, when awe of God is absent, it is quickly replaced by our awe of ourselves. If you are not living for God, the only alternative is to live for yourself. So a central ministry of the church must be to do anything it can to be used of God to turn people back to the one thing for which they were created: to live in a sturdy, joyful, faithful awe of God.

The youth ministry of the church must move beyond Bible entertainment.

This means that every sermon should be prepared by a person whose study is marked by awe of God. The sermon must be delivered in awe and have as its purpose to motivate awe in those who hear. Children’s ministry must have as its goal to ignite in young children a life-shaping awe of God. The youth ministry of the church must move beyond Bible entertainment and do all it can to help teens to see God’s glory and name it as the thing for which they will live. Women’s ministry must do more than give women a place to fellowship with one another and do crafts. Women need to be rescued from themselves and a myriad of self-interests that nip at their hearts, and awe of God provides that rescue. Men’s ministries need to recognize the coldness in the heart of so many men to the things of God and confront and stimulate men with their identity as those created to live and lead out of a humble zeal for God’s glory rather than their own.

Missions and evangelism must be awe-driven. Remember, Paul argues that this is the reason for the cross. He says that Jesus came so that “those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Cor. 5:15).

  


 

This post is adapted from Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges to Pastoral Ministry by Paul Tripp copyright © 2012. Used by permission of Crossway Books , a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187.


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